Daniel Murphy has certainly made a name for himself this October. Propelling the New York Mets through the National League Divisional Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers and taking a 2-0 series lead in the NL Championship Series over the Chicago Cubs, Murphy has gained cult-hero status in Queens with his five home runs coming off Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Kershaw (again), Jon Lester, and Jake Arrieta. Despite his postseason heroics, the Mets seem to be content letting Murphy sign elsewhere after his contract expires at the end of the season. Murphy has the ability to play multiple positions, including third base. Enter, the Chicago White Sox, who will look to upgrade the hot corner throughout the winter. The current Mets second baseman has already endeared himself to many White Sox fans by hitting home runs off their northside rivals in each of the first two NLCS games, and would also be a significant offensive upgrade at third base. Murphy is a career .288 hitter and has some pop in his bat, hitting 14 long balls this season in addition to his playoff exploits.
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As good as Murphy is at hitting, he has some defensive flaws. According to FanGraphs, the former all-star is league average at third base in terms of runs saved, but has cost his team 42 runs while playing second base over the course of his career. While FanGraphs says he is average at the hot corner, his fielding percentage is less than stellar while playing that position, sitting at .946 across parts of three seasons in which he has played games there. It is important to note this can be improved, as he has been roadblocked from getting game reps there due to the Mets captain David Wright manning the position. When Wright was sidelined earlier this year with spinal stenosis, Murphy was tasked with playing third.
What the White Sox would get with Murphy over incumbent Tyler Saladino would be a decrease in defensive abilities, but an uptick in the lineup. Saladino could slide to shortstop if the White Sox decline Alexei Ramirez‘s option or stick as a utility infielder for the following season. If Saladino takes the reins at shortstop his defensive range and ability could help mask Murphy’s miscues at third and help improve the club’s anemic offense while holding steady on defense.
One comparison that has come up for the former 13th round pick of the Mets has been Chase Headley. The current New York Yankees third baseman was linked to the Southsiders before getting traded to New York from the San Diego Padres a week before the 2014 trade deadline. Headley signed a 4-year, $52 million contract following his age-30 season, the same age as Murphy this winter. Given his postseason play however, a team such as the Los Angeles Dodgers may pay more as their front office will receive no ramifications on payroll spending. While I think it would improve the team if they were to win the Murphy-sweepstakes this winter, I don’t think it will happen because someone will outbid the White Sox for his services.
Do you think the White Sox should make a serious run for Murphy? Why or why not? Is there a different third baseman you think the White Sox should go after? Let us know below!