By: Joe Messineo

The Colorado Rockies May Be Targeting Daniel Murphy – But is That a Good Idea?


Daniel Murphy has earned himself a nice fat free agent contract. He did wonders with his swing in 2015, managing to pull balls at a league-average rate after years of being below-average in that department. That, in turn, has led to power to his pull side – power that paid dividends when Murphy hit a home run in six straight games for the Mets this postseason, the longest such streak in MLB playoff history. Murphy has his drawbacks, but some team is sure to pony up the dough to sign him – dough that is expected to total around $55 million, give or take, over the course of a four-year contract.

According to recent rumors, that team might just be the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies envision Murphy as a possible solution at first base. But is this a good idea?

Why Murphy Might Work for the Rockies

On the face of it, Murphy makes some sense for the Rockies. His increased power means that he’ll fit in well in the Rockies’ hitter-friendly home ballpark, which allows more home runs than the average park. Murphy has some defensive issues (more on that in a moment), but putting him at first base might camouflage those. And if the Rockies are serious about putting Murphy in the new position, they’ll at least be getting a relatively cheap option compared to the other first basemen on the market (the top guy, Chris Davis, should earn roughly twice what Murphy is expected to get).

Why Murphy Might Not Work for the Rockies

Unfortunately for the Rockies, the list of reasons why Murphy might not work for them is a lot longer than the list of reasons that he might. Let’s dive in.

First, Murphy might be overpriced. As soon as Murphy went on his red-hot postseason streak, several teams – including his own New York Mets – immediately ruled him out for next year. His attractive recent stats make him potentially overvalued. The estimate of $55 million over four years is actually somewhat conservative; some expected Murphy to make as much as $60 over the same stretch in his next deal. Of course, Murphy’s defensive woes in the World Series may have knocked things down a bit.

Speaking of which: Murphy is a defensive liability. His offensive prowess is of recent vintage (and arguable sustainability), but his defensive woes have been a constant throughout his career. That makes him less attractive as a second basemen – which is a problem the Rockies seem to have solved by sticking him at first.

Except that, of course, a poor second baseman doesn’t make a great first baseman. Murphy might be a little less damaging there, but he’s still a potential problem, and he’s also not really quite the power threat that you want as an everyday first baseman (unless, of course, you believe his postseason surge is a sign of things to come).

So, effectively, the Rockies are overpaying for a second baseman and then moving him to first, so that it looks like they’ve gotten themselves a nice deal. It doesn’t make a ton of sense – they’re still overpaying for a second baseman and getting a sub-par first baseman at the same time. Their position jockeying doesn’t change the fact that Murphy is fundamentally overpriced. Even if they’re dedicated to converting a second basemen into a first basemen to save cash, there are more cost-effective options.

Which brings us to the last and most important reason that the Rockies shouldn’t be inking free agents: the Rockies stink. They’re rebuilding. They just traded the face of the franchise (SS Troy Tulowitzki) last season for SS Jose Reyes, a player they probably intended to flip but are now most likely stuck with thanks to his recent arrest (they also got a couple of prospects). The Rockies need more prospects, not an overpriced free agent.

One damning piece of proof that the Rockies would be overpaying is the actions of Murphy’s old team, the New York Mets. The Mets went to the World Series last year and think four years, $55 million for Murphy is a bad deal. They figured someone else would go spending, though, so they gave him a qualifying offer – which means that any team signing Murphy will owe the Mets a draft pick. How on earth does it make sense for the rebuilding Rockies to sign a player that the NL champs think is overpriced, and give the better team a draft pick in the process?

About Joe Messineo

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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