Why Murphy Sat

There was a lot of grumbling on Twitter, the blogosphere, and other media outlets about Terry Collins’ decision last night to pinch-hit Chin-Ling Hu instead of Willie Harris or Dan Murphy during a key moment in the game.

I’m not sure about Harris, but the reason why Collins didn’t send up Murphy could have been to “send a message”. This from Bob Klapisch, reporting on what happened after Murphy was thrown out at third base on an attempting steal on Saturday:

Terry Collins watched in quiet rage as Murphy was thrown out — waiting while his player collected himself and returned to the dugout — before exploding.

“What the [bleep] are you doing?” Collins shouted, according to a person who’d been made aware of the exchange.

“Mike [Nickeas] was up, [Mike] Pelf[rey] was on deck; I was trying to get something started,” Murphy responded.

“So now you’re the manager? I was going to pinch-hit [for Pelfrey],” Collins shot back. “I’m the manager, not you. Get your head out of your [bleep].”

Murphy sat on Sunday and sat again last night. Maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe Collins held out Murph to teach him a lesson.

What do you think? Coincidence or lesson? If the latter, do you agree with Collins’ method of behavior modification? Post your opinion in the comments.

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. Joe April 20, 2011 at 10:26 am
    Murphy, one of the few people actually hitting (after all, he was only the second guy on base there), acts stupid, so Collins has to act stupid too? I guess, given how things has gone, that’s credible. Doesn’t explain why you don’t put up Harris there, who showed more at the plate than Hu.

    If he wanted to send a message, the thing to do would be to remove Murphy from the game then. It was getting late and if you are going to risk winning the game to send a message, that is the time to do it. Actually, that would have been a smart move. Expecting too much, perhaps.

    • Joe April 20, 2011 at 10:31 am
      Note Murphy’s stupidity, or whatever you want to call it, twice was on the bases. Unlike Hairston, his stupidity is less apparent in the actual batter’s box. If he hit there, it could have tied the game, even if he got caught stealing or almost caught advancing the next time someone was up.

      I’m all for passion — you know, when the guy actually seems worth caring about, as Murphy is. But, if that was his mindset (and I really hope it wasn’t), Collins is not much smarter than Murphy … and we need Collins to be.

  2. Matt Himelfarb April 20, 2011 at 11:09 am
    As I said before the year started, the Mets are kind of hamstrung by having Hu on the roster.

    A) He’s not going to really get any starts at second between Murphy and Turner.

    B) The reason he’s on the roster is obviously because Reyes is a health risk, and Hu is the only capable of playing short, but unless Reyes is actually hurt, Hu isn’t going to play there at all either.

    Point is, in spite of all that, you still have to somehow find Hu at-bats. If he’s on the roster, you gotta play him at some point.

    Turner, unlike Murphy or Emaus, has experience playing short in the minors (53 career games), so why not keep him as the emergency shortstop, and replace Hu with somebody that can actually hit?

  3. Matt Himelfarb April 20, 2011 at 11:13 am
    Granted, Hu can also be used a late inning defensive replacement with Murphy playing more often, but I’m not sure that outweighs his anemic offense.
  4. argonbunnies April 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm
    This idea is ridiculous. You punish someone by leaving them out of the starting lineup, not by giving yourself a 24-man roster. I’m all for sending messages, but “You don’t even get one at bat that could win us this game!” would be the dumbest possible way to do it. And I think the other 24 guys on the team would agree.

    And seriously, if Terry wants to make a statement, punish Hairston for wussing out on chasing fly balls, or punish Wright for turning triples into doubles by watching his deep flies. Punish the next reliever who doesn’t throw strikes. Dumb steal attempts are the least of our worries.

  5. A.J. Antezana April 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm
    So let me get this straight, a player makes a boneheaded play on Saturday and the manager punishes him by keeping him on the bench 2 games later in a situation that could help the ballclub win. Lesson learned: The manager is obviously overmatched at the Major League level and that is why he hasn’t managed at this level for years!! As a manager, he should have benched him the next day as a message and as a teacher/supporter, given Murph the chance to use his bat to atone for his mistake instead of sending Hu with his toothpick bat. Collins has made several errors in his short managerial run so far-can we designate him for assignment?
  6. Mike April 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm
    I don’t think there is any credence to Murphy sitting as punishment. But Collins is well within his rights to sit Murphy the next day, especially when he is not a regular by normal standards.

    Does anyone actually think Collins is wrong when he says “I’m the manager, not you?” This team has been without a legit manager since Willie lost the clubhouse. So if guys are used to making their own plays then Collins has to do something to get them back in line.