By: Stache Staff

Muddle in the Middle Infield: What To Do At Second Base


Murphy may be modelling for our website, but he isn’t putting up model numbers

With the All-Star break looming, the Mets likely have a bit more time to deliberate before we determine if the team will be buying or selling on the trade market.

This is generally the time of year where the stars and liabilities on every team surface from the woodwork.

And unfortunately, a fan favorite in the Mets organization is the first to come to mind when I hear the word liability. Bad timing could land him on the trading block for a number of reasons.

Going forward, you have to question if Daniel Murphy is a logical answer at second base. I don’t want to seem like I’m jumping the gun on a bad month and I know the Mets aren’t guaranteed to find a long-term solution at second, but he has had serious issues of late which magnify why he’s a problem.

The latest Daily Stache poster boy has been a staple in the lineup when healthy, and has hit with regularity. He hit .320 last year and came out of the gate in 2012 by reaching base like crazy. Of late, everything he has built has fizzled.

His month of June has been an absolute abomination. He simply can’t buy a hit right now, which is a major red flag for a guy that has proven himself to be able to get on base by slapping the ball all over the park. Terry Collins has no solid slot for him in the lineup due to his inconsistency.

Power has never been a big part of his game, but in the past he has averaged between six to ten home runs a year. Any sign of that power has vanished in 2012. His last home run was hit on July 16, 2011.

You have to love that he rarely strikes out, but since his turnaround, Murphy really hasn’t provided his team with any production this year. To top it all off, he doesn’t even run all that well.

I can’t think of a current Met more utterly useless on defense as well. He really just doesn’t fit anywhere on the diamond for the Mets. You could look at his overall value and argue that he his a Triple-A player. If the Mets try to move him, they’ll hope that somebody places significant value in him.

At times, it seems like youngster Jordany Valdespin should be starting at second base and would be better cemented into the two spot in the batting order.

It took Valdespin about a week to collect his first big league hit, a game-winning home run at that, and he did start off slowly; but since he has come up with plenty of big hits, enough to earn him regular playing time at the big league level.

Valdespin has certainly outperformed Murphy in June. His line starts at .286 and ends with five doubles, a homer and nine runs knocked.

If Jordany Valdespin does indeed swipe the starting job from Murphy, it essential leaves him in the dark. Don’t expect Murphy to snag starting time in place of Lucas Duda or Ike Davis unless injury strikes. His bat just lacks the pop that is necessary in this lineup. You don’t need a power hitting second baseman, but some positive output would be nice.

If Murphy has any trade value, it could be helpful if the Mets enter the market in search of a reliever. But as much as Murph has endeared himself to Mets fans over the past few years, he really has begun to play his way out of the Mets lineup.

I hate saying it, but for the greater good, Daniel Murphy really shouldn’t factor into the Mets long term plans. However, he did reportedly shave his mustache yesterday, so one would think that it could signal a turnaround.

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  1. 7train

    June 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Murphy has hit before and will hit again. He went through a prolonged slump in 2009 and yet even playing only about three quarters of the year had 38 doubles and 12 HR’s in the old Citi Field. The move from 2nd to 5th is really hurting him as he’s been hitting in front of a slumping Davis, Quintanilla, Thole, Cedeno, Nickeas and the pitcher. No way he’s going to get much to hit.

    With RISP he’s hitting .319. With RISP and 2 out .355 with 16 RBI’s even with a bad June. He also never got a day off with Tejada, Cedeno and Turner out and other than Ike is the only LH hitter who has produced a few extra base hit against lefty’s, although Ike strikes out about a third of the time against them.

    Murphy’s best value would be as an occasional starter at 2B, backup at 1B and 3B and PH and that would be a very valuable piece to have down the road but right now there is no guarantee that Valdespin is a full time answer at 2B nor is Wright guaranteed to be back after 2013 and who knows with Flores and Marte at 3B if Wright does leave and what Murphy bring back in a trade?

    I can very easily see Wright wanting 5/100 running through his age 35 season and Alderson saying no way. That keeps alive the possibility of an infield of 1B Davis/Murphy 2B Tejada/Murphy, SS Tovar/Tejada and 3B Murphy/Marte with Valdespin, Havens and Flores as wild cards.

    I’d keep him, bat him 2nd behind Tejada, put Cedeno in for him in the late innings and tell Davis, Duda and Bay to start hitting like first basemen and corner outfielders.

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