“Well, first of all, we are very excited. We rarely see a young player having that kind of plate discipline…Because this is October, and there is another MLB playoff season without the Mets, and there is no free agent movement yet, this passes for news.
“I am comfortable that he is going to play the outfield if we need him to play the outfield. We are also comfortable that he would be able to play first base – if someday Carlos Delgado is not with us. So we’re excited about him, and we envision him that way…
“He is going to play second base in the Fall League, but that was something that was decided a while back before he actually came to the Major Leagues.”
I take the following points out of this:
1. The Mets like Murphy, as the first paragraph makes plain.
2. The Mets like Murphy's versatility. as the second paragraph makes plain. Having a guy who can play the OF and either infield corner is a great luxury.
3. The fact that he's playing 2B in the AFL "being decided a while back" is irrelevant as the Mets move forward. Based on Murphy's performance in the AFL, the team will determine whether he has the potential to play there at the MLB level.
4. Luis Castillo's contract makes it impossible for Omar to say publicly, "I love Daniel Murphy. We hope he improves enough defensively at second base in the Fall League that the team can plan on starting him there on Opening Day 2009."
Baseball General Managers are politicians too!
I'm going to make a few more points here.
1. Murphy is cheap and versatile.
2. His role in 2009 will be determined by how the Mets choose to allocate money for players who are neither cheap nor versatile. Will they spend lots of money in LF, pitching or something else?
3. I think a Murphy/Evans platoon in LF would provide above average offensive production in 2009.
4. However, LF is an area where it is relatively easier to add offensive strength.
5. I don't see an available 2B out there who would obviously would outperform Murphy offensively.
6. I firmly believe the best Mets offensive lineup in 2009 includes Murphy playing 2B most of the time. Whether that's viable defensively is the important question.
Gangsta photo of Murphy from the '08 EL All-Star game from reader "Schmifty."