Thursday, December 24, 2015

We'll Always Have Paris...

I can't say I'm especially surprised by today's news that Daniel Murphy signed with the Washington Nationals. I'm not particularly upset by it either. I know you don't want one of your own guys to jump to a division rival like this, but let's be real here before we get too worked up. The moves the Mets have made to this point have made it abundantly clear that Daniel Murphy wasn't part of the future plans here. And that's fine.

We've had 8 seasons with Daniel Murphy. I know there's a lot of sentimentality that comes attached to that, but it wasn't going to get any better with age. Mostly, Daniel Murphy played the kind of Baseball that left a lot of us scratching our heads. Yes, there were times when he was really good, and for those two weeks in October he took his version of "really good" to a whole new level. But that wasn't Daniel Murphy. That was Playoff Chosen Daniel Murphy. Nothing exemplifies Playoff Chosen Daniel Murphy more than that Stolen Base in Los Angeles. If Daniel Murphy tries to pull something like that in the regular season, he probably gets thrown out 100 times out of 100. Playoff Chosen Daniel Murphy was safe. But Playoff Chosen Daniel Murphy was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Regular Daniel Murphy came back to us in the World Series, sometime around the 8th inning of Game 4.

Unfair as it may seem, that's probably going to be the Daniel Murphy that most of us will remember. The guy who was consistently frighting on defense. The guy who would all too often try to be a hero and end up making a semipro-caliber play. The guy who would go on those raging hot streaks and then spend the next two months grounding out to the 2nd baseman. The guy who exemplified the lost era of the Mets when he led the team in Home Runs...with 12. A few years ago, I was watching a program on MLB Network where Daniel Murphy was ranked 10th among MLB 2nd Basemen and I nearly passed out. Murphy was the sort of player that I would watch and after a few years of his schtick I said to myself, "You know, Daniel Murphy is the kind of ballplayer who only has a job because of the Mets. Only the Mets would have a guy like Murphy on the roster."

I guess there's some people who are upset about this, but I can't. I know he went to a division rival, but my feeling is that now, he's going to get himself so cranked up and out of control when he plays the Mets that he's going to do things like try to score from 1st Base on an infield ground out or try to throw a runner out at 3rd base while overshifted into Right Field. These absurd mistakes that he makes are now the problem of Dusty Baker and the Washington Nationals. While he's totally going to hit .340 in April, I feel like more often than not we'll see the Good Ol' Murphy on highlights and silently chuckle.

The other reason people seem to be annoyed really has less to do with Murphy and more that the Mets aren't making those "Bold" or "Flashy" moves. I know general logic would dictate that the Mets should bring back Cespedes and, sure, that makes sense but again, a lot of it comes from that sentimental feeling that most Mets fans seem to have. I mean, sure. I'd love to have that big-time bat back and sure, it annoys me to see the Cubs and Giants gobbling up every big-ticket Free Agent in sight (and if you thought the Cubs had anointed themselves last season...oy veh...), but outside of Cespedes, or possibly Heyward, who sitting out there were the Mets legitimately going to bring in? The idea isn't to make moves for the purpose of being reactionary, the idea is to make moves to improve the team and under Sandy Alderson, the Mets have continually done that. No, I don't especially like the idea that the Opening Day 2016 roster is going to mostly resemble the Opening Day 2015 roster barring a Cespedes Smokescreen. But top to bottom the Mets are a better team right now than they were on Opening Day last season even without Cespedes. Instead of having absolute junk filling out the roster, there's good, serviceable depth here, which is nice to have. Also, I feel like people are forgetting this Conforto fellow. He might be pretty good.

All besides the point. I sort of want to tip my cap and wish Murphy well and maybe that was supposed to be the general intent of this post. I know I really raked Murphy over the coals quite a bit over the years and, well, most of the time he deserved it, but for all his foibles he was a fine Met and it's always a little wistful when a guy who's been with the team a long time leaves. But, that's the nature of the game. Players always leave town and the cynics always win the day. Murph...It's been real.

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