Daniel in the Lion's Den

Richard Marsh@RichardMarshSenior Analyst ISeptember 13, 2009

NEW YORK - AUGUST 19:  Daniel Murphy #28 of the New York Mets fields the ball against the Atlanta Braves on August 19, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

With this season finally drawing to a close, I have spent most of the past six to eight weeks listening to Mets fans and those who cover the Mets in the media trash over and over and over again the Mets first baseman, Daniel Murphy.

To me it's just unbelievable what extremes these fans take when it comes to blame and evaluation of a player's year.

To a man, after last year's great September when Daniel Murphy literally skipped AAA to come directly to the Mets and have a wonderful month, he was annointed the final piece of the package which would be added to the already supreme core of Mets players that would have them contend for a championship for the next 10 years.

His numbers were in fact pretty darn good for a 23-year-old rookie. He hit .313 had an OBP of .397 and a SLG of .473. He had great bat control, had power to all fields and worked at his hitting like the second coming of Keith Hernandez.

The question was where to play him. A third baseman by trade, he also had some minor league game experience at first but the only place the Mets could see him in was left field, a position where he never played before and looked very uncomfortable in his limited outings there last September.

In winter ball he was going to work out at second base in case Luis Castillo couldn't come back after his disastrous 2008.

Well we all saw what happened in the spring. Murphy was clearly out of his element in left field at the start of the season and his play in the field carried over to his plate appearances.

It also didn't help that his manager, my favorite moron, who has cost this team so many games I have lost count, didn't do any favors with his now 24-year-old batter. He moved him in and out of the lineup so many times and had him in every batting slot in the lineup it had to play with the youngsters mind.

He slumped miserably until two things finally happened to change things around. One, Daniel became the regular first baseman and second Jerry finally started to hit Murphy in front of Wright and Francoeur to give him some protection in the line up.

So what has Daniel done since August. All he's done is hit. His average for the last seven weeks is over .300. His OBP is over .350 and his slugging percentage is just under.500.

Now everybody wants to see him gone. Why? The Mets don't need a guy at first to hit .260 with 35 HR's and 100 RBI's to play first base and have the team win. They need that guy in left field. Matt Holliday is who they need there.

The Mets have had three pretty darn good players at first base and won championships without sluggers. They were Dave Magadan, Keith Hernandez, and Jon Olerud. Magadan was 27 in 1990 when he .328 with an OBP of .417 and a SLG .457.

Keith Hernandez was 25 in 1975 when he hit .344, OBP .417 and SLG .513 for the Cardinals in 1979

Neither Hernandez, Olerud or Magadan had as good offensive numbers as Murphy did when they were 23.

This is a guy you build your future around. A guy who never stops to try and make himself better, who works on his game everyday and dives around the bag at first like Ferris Fane.

But the problem here is that Met fans are never satisfied. They don't want to even entertain the thought that this year made us take a good look at Pagan, Sullivan, Francoeur, Murphy, and Cora.

These guys are winners and if you build your core around Wright, Reyes, Beltran, Santana, Niese, K-Rod, Thole, and F-Mart and have Holt, Davies, Marte, and others waiting in the wings, we can, with the right GM and Manager, get right back into contention in 2010.

I should only be so lucky.


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