New York Mets free agent second baseman Daniel Murphy has signed a three-year deal with the National League East rival Washington Nationals, according to multiple media reports.
The contract is pending a physical, and salary arrangements have yet to be disclosed.
The Nats recently tried to obtain Red second baseman Brandon Phillips via trade but the deal fell through, perhaps prompting them to turn their attention to the versatile Murphy.
Under MLB rules, Washington will have to give the Mets a 2016 first-round draft pick for signing Murphy.
The Mets had presented Murphy with a one-year, $15.8 million deal, which he declined, apparently holding out for a long-term offer from New York or another team.
The Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers also had some limited interest in Murphy. “The Mets, however, were adamant that the steady hitter with defensive flaws was not in their future plans, telling the News during the playoffs they would not make a long-term offer,” the New York Daily News explained.
Separate reports also indicate that the Mets have given up on trying to re-sign outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Murphy, 30, had an incredible 2015 MLB playoff run, with home runs in six consecutive games on the way to being named the National League Championship Series MVP. He made a Bill Buckner-style fielding error, however, in Game 4 of the World Series in the top of the 8th inning that allowed the eventual champion Kansas City Royals to tie the game and then go on to win.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Murphy entered free agency this year for the first time in his professional career. He was expected to get a considerable raise on his $8 million salary thanks to his historical heroics in the 2015 postseason. While he was not nearly as productive in the World Series compared to the first two rounds, his performance still put him in elite company
Once the Mets traded for Neil Walker, the Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman with better defensive skills, it seemed unlikely that Murphy would return to Citi Field as a member of the home team.
In the regular season, Murphy recorded a.281 batting average with 14 home runs and 73 RBI.
MLB Trade Rumors provided this assessment of the Daniel Murphy signing.
“In Murphy, the Nationals add a player who provides good pop for a middle infielder and also a versatile defender who play third, first and (on a limited basis) left as well as the keystone…Murphy’s multi-positional ability gives manager Dusty Baker a lot of flexibility in arranging lineups and late-game situations. Perhaps most importantly, Murphy also adds a much-needed left-handed bat to Washington’s lineup — Murphy and Bryce Harper are currently the only left-handed hitters projected to play everyday roles for the Nationals.”
For his seven-year MLB career so far, Murphy is a.288 hitter with 62 home runs and 402 RBI who also seldom strikes out. He also hit at least 37 doubles in the past four seasons, an MLB record.
CBS Sports had a similar analysis of the Murphy acquisition by the Washington Nationals.
“Murphy should be an upgrade offensively for the Nationals, a team that saw its second basemen hit a combined.251/.330/.388 in 2015, per Baseball Reference. He’ll also give the team flexibility in the infield, as he’s made 171 career starts at first base and 82 career starts at third. With Ryan Zimmerman moving to first base on a full-time basis and Anthony Rendon shifting to third base, Murphy plugs a hole defensively just as his left-handed bat helps diversify a righty-heavy lineup.”
Although the Mets have a top-notch pitching staff, as evidenced by the team going deep enough into the playoffs last season to win the pennant, Daniel Murphy joins a team that has Max Scherzer and Steven Strasburg among others taking the mound every five days.
[Photo by David Goldman/AP]