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.

Per Costa:

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).


Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Andy May 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm
    Maybe the process wasn’t 100% fair, but I’m glad to see some hard-nosed decision-making over there for once. If only management could be as unsentimentally strategic with respect to Castillo and Perez.

    I’m still very annoyed that the Mets let the Cards have Felipe Lopez for under $2MM, just because they felt they had invested too much in Castillo’s untradeable contract.

  2. Dave May 2, 2010 at 6:08 pm
    Manuel is such a coward. Rather than play to win tonight – a game where the pitching matchup favors the Mets, he is putting the Mets at a HUGE disadvantage by resting Pagan/Davis and LEADING OFF with Gary Matthews.

    If the Mets win, “hey, Jerry won the series!”

    If the Mets lose, “hey, it’s tough to win when you have Tatis at 1B and Matthews leading off.”

    also, look for Jerry to get tossed tonight on the first close call. Because he has to look fiery in either of the two scenarios laid out above. And Jerry loves an early exit on Sunday night games. You could look it up.

  3. Jason A. May 2, 2010 at 7:30 pm
    I have no idea why Murphy was granted the job in the first place.

    He didn’t exactly tear it up in Spring Training (.196 Batting average).

    He is a gritty player that needs time in the minors to work on his defensive skills as well as his hitting.

  4. isuzudude May 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm
    The Mets are actually taking the sensible path in their dealing with Murphy, for a change. He is not and never really should have been tabbed as the future firstbaseman. It just so happened that, prior to 2010, Carlos Delgado was hurt, Ike Davis still looked to be scheduled to arrive no earlier than 2011, and Murphy needed a position having been ousted out of LF. So putting him at 1B was the logical, short term solution. However, with Davis’ progression, Murphy now needs to learn to field a few more positions, as it makes little sense to have a left-handed backup for Davis. And it also makes sense for him to do it at the AAA level (where, believe it or not, he has a whopping grand total of 4 at bats), where he can play everyday and not cost the Mets in the standings. Finally they’ve done something right!

    Jason: Murphy was granted the 1B job because, prior to spring training, the Mets had no better in-house 1B options, and because he hit .282 after last year’s all-star break. He deserved to have first crack at the position in 2010, and it would have been wrong to let a small sample size in spring training take that away from him. That said, Ike is a much better option at 1B than Murph, both in the present and future, and hopefully Murph will come back strong as a super-utilityman later on in the season.

  5. Mic May 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm
    I think the plan is a return to futility. Let us remember Murph is a THIRD baseman by trade. He set a tone for 2009 with his play in LF, but lukily thru injuries was able to regroup at 1st.

    Personally I think he’ll be fine, because of his bat…2nd because he will have a great manager in Oberkfell. Also I think he will log a lot of time at 1st but the Mets need to trade NOW.

    Lucas Duda, Nick Evans, Murph, Hessman and Jacobs are in a virtual log jam.

  6. 86mets May 2, 2010 at 9:26 pm
    I think this is perfectly logical. If he’s able to handle 1b, 2b, LF, and maybe 3b, then he instantly becomes more valuable to the Mets. Especially with Catalanotto, #1-NOT hitting, and #2-limited to 1B/LF, they will have a cheaper in-house alternative to the expensive and non-productive “Cat”. I never liked Murphy as an everyday player, but think he could have a lot of value as a role player on the bench.
  7. steve thompson May 3, 2010 at 12:34 pm
    Why isnt CARTER up?
    Cat is not hitting, Mathews is not hitting, and bring up Martinez