New York Mets: Taking a Look at Daniel Murphy’s Mets Legacy

New York Mets, Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy has announced his retirement on Friday after 12 great seasons in the big leagues. Seven of those years came with the New York Mets, and he carried them to a 2015 National League Pennant. Here is a look at Murphy’s time wearing the blue and orange.

Murphy was a 13th round pick by the Mets in 2006 and made MLB his debut in the 2008 season. As a rookie, he became impossible to remove from the lineup. Murphy batted .313/.397/.473 over 55 games while playing at a new position in left field. He came up through the ranks as a natural third baseman, but David Wright’s presence forced the Mets to move him around.

The left-field experiment was a failure, and Murphy moved to first base when Carlos Delgado got injured in 2009. Murphy did not duplicate his rookie season production but led the team with 12 home runs. A flurry of leg injuries forced Murphy to miss the entire 2010 season and ended his 2011 season early. Murphy finished 2011 with the third-highest average in the NL but did not have enough at-bats to qualify for the league lead.

Full-Time Second Baseman 

In 2012, the Mets moved Murphy to second base full-time. Murphy’s defense needed plenty of work, but it gradually improved each season. For 2012-15, Murphy slashed .287/.326/.416 and averaged 38 doubles. Murphy also earned his first All-Star appearance during the 2014 season.

The 2015 postseason put Murphy on immortal levels among postseason heroes. In the NLDS and NLCS, Murphy batted .421 with seven home runs and had one in six consecutive games. Murphy did not carry his NLCS MVP numbers to the World Series and moved on to the Washington Nationals after the season. The Mets could have done more to keep Murphy, but his MVP caliber numbers were unpredictable.

Murphy never got the proper send off to his career due to his injuries affecting his production. He finishes third in double and seventh in batting average on the all-time Mets lists. Murphy was always a hard-nosed player who provided a new generation of Mets fans with their lone postseason memories.

Ranking the New York Mets Second Basemen of the Last 20 Seasons

The New York Mets had a steady rotation of second basemen over the last 20 seasons. One common theme is their second basemen tend to carry the team during the postseason. Our first two names on the list exemplify postseason excellence the best.

1. Daniel Murphy (2008-15)

Daniel Murphy put together one of the greatest postseasons in baseball history. In 2015, he hit .421 with seven home runs, including homers in six consecutive games to lead the Mets to an NL Championship. Murphy did not play second base every day until 2012 and was raw at the position but turned himself into a very serviceable defender. He is third all-time on the Mets doubles list with 228.

2. Edgardo Alfonzo (1995-2002)

Edgardo Alfonzo spent the earlier part of his career at third base but moved over to second when Robin Ventura arrived in 1999 and stayed there until 2001. During that period, he hit .293/.381/.487 and averaged 23 home runs and 34 doubles per season. Alfonzo added an All-Star appearance, four postseason home runs, and only made 22 errors during those three seasons.

3. Jeff McNeil (2018-19)

Jeff McNeil settled in at second base during his rookie season in 2018, but the acquisition of Robinson Cano made him a utility guy in 2019. As a second baseman, he is hitting .323 with nine home runs, 19 doubles, and six triples. When baseball starts again, he will likely play a majority of third base.

4. Neil Walker (2016-17)

Neil Walker had the tall task of replacing Daniel Murphy and played great. The only problem came with Murphy’s power surge with the Washington Nationals over shadowed Walker’s greatness. He batted .275/.344/.462 with 33 home runs in 186 games in Flushing.

5. Jose Valentin (2006-07)

Jose Valentin earned his ranking based on his revival season of 2006. The 36-year old veteran batted .170 the year prior and took the job away from Kazuo Matsui. Valentin batted .271 with 18 home runs and 62 runs batted in to stabilize the bottom of the Mets order.

6. Luis Castillo (2007-10)

Unfortunately, Mets fans will only remember Luis Castillo for his dropped pop-up against the New York Yankees. He batted .274 with 55 stolen bases and still played Gold Glove defense at second base. Castillo only made 21 errors over 365 games.

7. Robinson Cano (2019)

The Mets took a significant risk in bringing in Robinson Cano, and he played just okay during his first season with the Mets. It was a tale of two seasons for Cano; he hit .240/.287/.360 with only four home runs during the first half of the season. Cano returned to his hall of fame form in the second half batting .284/.339/.541 with nine home runs and could have done more damage if a hamstring injury did not slow him down.

8. Roberto Alomar (2002-03)

Roberto Alomar seemed like a safer risk than Cano, but Alomar never produced as a Met. Like Cano, he only played okay but never put up his All-Star caliber numbers. Alomar’s .265 average was the lowest he had with any team he played with for at least 200 games.

9. Ruben Tejada (2010-15, 19) 

Before primarily playing shortstop, Ruben Tejada spent the first two seasons of his career playing second base. Never known for his power, he slashed .256/.338/.314 with only one home run but had 27 doubles in 174 games.

10. Kazuo Matsui (2004-06)

Kazuo Matsui was the definition of disappointment after coming with so much hype that Jose Reyes had to play second base in 2004. While the Yankees struck gold with a different Matsui, the Mets got one decent season in 2004 with Kazuo, but he was playing shortstop in all but three games. He hit .274 with 32 doubles during his rookie season but failed to keep himself on the field during the following two. Matsui ended up with the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Eli Marrero.

Ranking the New York Mets First Basemen of the Last 20 Seasons

The first base spot has multiple one-year wonders throughout the New York Mets franchise history. Over the last 20 seasons, the position has a good mix of homegrown talent and outside boppers to add punch to the lineup.

1. Pete Alonso (2019)

No disrespect to Carlos Delgado, but Pete Alonso‘s 2019 season puts him at the top of the class. Alonso exceeded and smashed every record and milestone set in front of him. He hit .260/.358/.583 with a major league-leading and rookie record-breaking 53 home runs. Alonso won the home run derby, made the All-Star team, and won the Rookie of the Year award all in his first season with the Mets.

2. Carlos Delgado (2006-2009)

When Carlos Delgado arrived to the Mets in 2006, he was the exact leader a young Mets infield needed. He did not hit for average like his Toronto days, but his power remained. Before a hip injury ended Delgado’s career, he was hitting .298 with four home runs and 23 RBIs at age-37. In the three years prior, he averaged 33 homers and 105 RBIs to go along with a top-10 MVP finish.

3. Lucas Duda (2010-17)

Originally used as an outfielder, Lucas Duda did not solely play first base every day until 2014. Loaded with a powerful bat to all parts of the field, he also could get white-hot at any moment. Duda hit 125 home runs and peaked at 30 during 2014. He also became a fan and clubhouse favorite during his Mets tenure.

4. Ike Davis (2010-2014)

Unfortunately, the story of Ike Davis is one of “what could have been?” After a good rookie season with 19 home runs and 71 runs driven in, Davis followed up in 2011 but starting out hitting .302 with seven home runs through his first 36 games. He suffered a season-ending ankle injury, which suddenly killed his momentum. Davis hit 32 home runs the following season but only had 21 during his final three seasons in New York. After the injury, he never figured out a consistent batting stance and swing, which eventually led to him being out of baseball by 30.

5. Todd Zeile (2000-01, 04)

Never an All-Star type of player, Todd Zeile was a very reliable big leaguer. He spent two different stints in Flushing, and during his first, he had to fill John Olerud’s shoes. Zeile complemented the top tier Mets infield well, putting up two similar years with the only difference coming in his home run totals. During his final at-bat in 2004, he homered to cap off his 16-year career.

6. Wilmer Flores (2013-2018)

2018 was the only season where Wilmer Flores played a majority of first base. He adapted to the position well as it was the only one he could still play. Flores batted .267/.314/.405 with 20 double when playing first.

7. James Loney (2016)

The Mets needed a veteran to replace the injured Lucas Duda during 2016, and James Loney filled the role perfectly. The reliable Loney did not put the team on his back but certainly did not hurt them either. He played the stellar defense he was known for, and despite hitting for the lowest average of his career, he had his highest slugging percentage since 2013. Loney’s signature moment was his home run against the Philadelphia Phillies to help clinch a wild card spot.

8. Daniel Murphy (2008-15)

Daniel Murphy spent time at first base during the early years of his career after the left-field experiment failed miserably. In 2009 and 2011, he played a combined 152 games at first base; he missed 2010 due to a knee injury. During 2009, Murphy’s 12 homers led the team, and in 2011 he hit .320, which was his highest with the Mets.

9. Mo Vaughn (2002-03)

Injuries kept Mo Vaughn from playing during 2001, but the Mets took a risk on him for the 2002 season. Vaughn made the most of his season with 26 home runs and 72 runs batted in, playing in 139 games. Unfortunately, injuries plagued him in 2003, where he only played in 27 games and missed the entire 2004 season to end his career. His long home run, three quarters up on the Shea Stadium scoreboard, is his memorable Mets moment.

10. Doug Mientkiewicz (2005)

In 2005 plan A was Carlos Delgado. But the settled for plan B in Doug Mientkiewicz. He came to the Mets during a transition season between rebuilding and contending. Mientkiewicz lost his starting job to Mike Jacobs due to poor play, but he bounced back to finish at .240 with 11 homers.

New York Mets: The Players of the Decade, Who Parted Ways Too Early

The New York Mets have a history of missing out on significant players when they happened to be on their roster. Through trades or merely cutting a player, here are the players the Mets gave up on too soon.

Travis d’Arnaud

d’Arnaud had initially been the prize piece in the R.A. Dickey deal, but he never panned out to be the top prospect praise he received. He hit .242 with 47 home runs during his seven seasons as a Met. After he started 2019 slow, the Mets released him, and he landed on the Dodgers before heading to the Rays five days later. He ended up breaking out to hit .263 with 16 home runs and 67 RBIs in Tampa. It resulted in him earning a two-year deal with the Braves during the offseason.

Daniel Murphy

Murphy cemented his place in Mets fans hearts when he dominated the 2015 postseason to lead the Mets to the World Series. In the World Series, he left fans with a bad taste in their mouths after he struggled to produce offensively and defensively. The Mets tried to bring Murphy back on a qualifying offer but did not offer him anything more.

Murphy ended up signing with the rival Nationals. Not only did he put together dominant seasons with the Nationals, but he torched his former team. Since Murphy left the Mets, he is hitting .355/.411/.650 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs against the Mets. The Mets replaced Murphy with Neil Walker, but he never put up numbers anywhere near Murphy’s.

Justin Turner

Turner might be the biggest miss the Mets had. He hit .265/.326/.370 as a Met, with very minimal power numbers. The Mets decided to let him go after the 2013 season, even though it looked like Turner started to become a good hitter. Turner hit .305 during his final two months with the Mets, but the organization never felt that he was an everyday player.

He went on to the Dodgers and has become a star. In his six years with the Dodgers, Turner is a .302 hitter, with 112 home runs, 168 doubles, one All-Star selection, and three top-15 MVP finishes. He has been even better during the postseason hitting .310 with nine homers over 54 playoff games.

Hansel Robles

In a year where the bullpen killed the Mets season, this one hurts. Robles always had a live arm and had two solid seasons to begin his Mets career. In 2017, things started to go downhill as the home run started to hurt him. The Mets put Robles on waivers in 2018 after he allowed seven home runs in 19.2 innings.

The Angles claimed Robles, and it seemed like everything turned out better in LA. Through a year and a half, he has a 2.64 ERA in 108 games, allowing only eight home runs with the Angels. He even emerged as the Angels closer, locking down 23 games in 2019.