Dan Murphy Will Wing It in Buffalo
According to Brian Costa of the Star-Ledger, the Mets will send Daniel Murphy to AAA Buffalo once his knee has completely healed.
The Mets plan to send Murphy, 24, to Buffalo for two reasons. From an offensive standpoint, they think it would be better for his development to get regular at-bats, which isn’t likely to happen in the majors. And defensively, the Mets want Murphy to play multiple positions, including first base, second base and left field.
Part of the thinking is that greater defensive versatility would increase his trade value, but it would also make him more valuable to the organization if he isn’t traded.
Interesting, isn’t it? We’ve expressed similar thoughts about Murphy right here at MetsToday — that he’d ultimately be most valuable as a “supersub” a la Mark DeRosa (or Don Money, for old farts like me).
So the “golden boy” has fallen from the grace of the Mets management; maybe now we can finally stop comparing him to Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs, Edgardo Alfonzo, etc., and just let him become Daniel Murphy. The idea that Murphy could/would be the starting first baseman was mythical from the beginning, but who’s to say he can’t reinvent himself (again) and turn into a very good, valuable part-time player?
Considering that AAA Buffalo already has lefthanded-hitting Mike Jacobs installed at first base, and the”Monster” Chris Carter splitting time among 1B, OF, and DH, I would guess that Murphy will be getting some reps at both 2B and 3B for the Bisons. Many Mets fans I’m sure would like to see Murphy playing second base exclusively, so that he can supplant Luis Castillo. But I doubt very highly that Daniel has the feet and hands to develop into an everyday MLB second baseman; we’ll see. The one place I’d really like to see Murphy is behind the plate. Again, I doubt he can develop into Johnny Bench back there, but I believe he has enough athleticism, toughness, and the right work ethic to make himself into a capable third-stringer. It’s always nice to have that third / emergency catcher on the 25-man roster — especially one who can be a strong pinch-hitting threat.
There’s one thing about Murphy’s demotion that doesn’t sit right with me, however — the fact that he essentially lost the starting job due to an injury. By all accounts, Murphy was the starting first baseman going into Opening Day — and walked into spring training as the starter, according to Jerry Manuel. While we may not have agreed with that decision, the fact is that Murphy was going to be “the guy” at first base — and possibly batting cleanup (!) — until he injured his knee. Now when he’s healed, he’ll be a backup utilityman in Buffalo. Something just ain’t right with that (kind of like Omir Santos going from starting catcher to AAA backup in a matter of 24 hours).