Much speculation has already attached itself to free agent Daniel Murphy, but you can add another intriguing rumor to the pile. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Colorado Rockies are interested in signing Murphy to play first base:
Though second base is Murphy’s most frequent position by a large margin, he has made 190 appearances at first throughout his seven-year big league career.
The Rockies used a combination of Justin Morneau, Ben Paulsen and Wilin Rosario at first base in 2015. Concussion issues limited Morneau to just 49 games, and Colorado recently declined its option on the former MVP for next year.
Paulsen (.277/.326/.462) and Rosario (.268/.295/.416) turned in decent showings, but the Rox might view Murphy as a significant upgrade over either at the position.
Murphy’s usual spot is, of course, held down by All-Star DJ LeMahieu. The 27-year-old posted a .301/.358/.388 slash line in his fifth season, along with six homers, 61 RBI and 23 steals. His .746 OPS placed him fourth among all NL second baseman.
Coors Field has been kind to Murphy in the past, as it has been to many batters. He owns a .313/.337/.475 line there over 86 plate appearances. Colorado may figure that the hitter-friendly confines of its home ballpark could provide Murphy’s offensive production a yearlong boost.
If their interest in Murphy is genuine, it could also signal an unusually aggressive offseason approach from the Rockies. The 30-year-old’s scorching display in the NLDS and NLCS, in which he hit .421 with seven home runs and 11 RBI, garnered him a lot of extra attention heading into free agency. With several teams already rumored to be in the mix, Colorado will likely have to put a very nice offer on the table to land him.
The beginning of the offseason always brings with it a variety of surprising reports. Whether or not the Rockies actually do launch a serious bid for Daniel Murphy should become evident in the months ahead.
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