It may not really be New York Mets news — the player hasn’t been with the club in more than five years — but given that Daniel Murphy put together one of the greatest postseason runs in MLB history as a member of the Mets, it seems appropriate to call it such.
Murphy will turn 36 on what is scheduled to be Opening Day this season, April 1, and his production had slipped in each of the past three seasons.
Last season with the Colorado Rockies, Murphy hit a career-low .236 in 40 games and 132 plate appearances, with his .608 OPS also the worst of his career. He had three doubles, three home runs, 16 RBI and 10 runs scored.
Daniel Murphy made Mets news of a different sort in 2015
In the 2015 postseason, Daniel Murphy nearly single-handedly carried the New York Mets to the World Series with a phenomenal run in the NLDS and NLCS.
As the Mets were taking out the favored Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the NLDS, Murphy homered in the final three games of the series, including a go-ahead solo shot off Zack Greinke in the top of the sixth inning of Game 5 at Dodger Stadium that broke a 2-2 tie and proved the difference in New York’s 3-2 win.
And while the Mets were sweeping the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, Murphy kept right on hammering, hitting four homers in the first three games of the series to set a new major league postseason record with home runs in six consecutive games. That broke the mark set by Carlos Beltran of the Houston Astros, who homered in five straight games in the 2004 playoffs.
Murphy was terrific in the series against the Dodgers, hitting .333 with an .810 OPS, adding three homers and five RBI. But in the NLCS? He was call-the-fire-department hot. In the four games, Murphy was 9-for-17 with four home runs and six RBI, earning MVP honors for the series.
The storybook run didn’t continue. The Kansas City Royals were very careful against Murphy in the World Series, walking him five times as he was limited to a 3-for-20 series with no extra base hits and seven strikeouts in five games.
That doesn’t mention his fielding misadventures in the eighth inning of a pivotal Game 4 loss.
After reliever Tyler Clippard issued a pair of walks, closer Jeurys Familia entered the game with two on and one out. Eric Hosmer chopped a weak grounder toward Murphy, who charged the ball but allowed it to get under his glove for an error that gave the Royals a run and tied the game.
The next batter, Mike Moustakas, grounded a ball past Murphy — whose lack of range as a second baseman was noteworthy — and gave the Royals a 4-3 lead. Salvador Perez then singled to pad the lead in New York’s 5-3 loss.
Instead of tying the series 2-2, it was 3-1 Kansas City and the Royals would close out the series with a 12-inning win the next night, erupting for five runs in the top of the 12th for a 7-2 victory.
Murphy was a 13th-round pick by the Mets out of Jacksonville University in the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft, but progressed quickly through the minors and made his major-league debut on Aug. 2, 2008.
He earned a regular utility role, playing first base and left field, in 2009, hitting .266 with a .741 OPS in 155 games. But he missed the 2010 season after first spraining his right knee late in spring training and then sustaining a torn MCL in the same knee in the second game of his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Buffalo.
He was an All-Star for the Mets in 2014, hitting .289 with a .734 OPS, notching 37 doubles, nine homers, 57 RBI and scoring 79 runs. He hit what was a career-best 14 home runs in 2015 before unloading with his two-week spree in the playoffs.
In January 2016, Murphy signed with the Nationals as a free agent and the hits literally kept on coming. In his first season in D.C., Murphy finished second behind Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant in the National League MVP voting after hitting .347 with 47 doubles, five triples, 25 homers and 104 RBI while scoring 88 runs.
He led the league in doubles and also topped the NL with a .595 slugging percentage and .985 OPS. In 2017, he again led the National League in doubles with 43.
But in 2018, his production waned and he was traded to the Cubs in August after clearing waivers, with the Nationals getting minor-leaguer Andrew Monasterio and cash. That winter he signed with the Rockies.
In his 12 seasons, Murphy hit .296 with a .796 OPS in 1,452 games and 5,755 plate appearances, notching 371 doubles and 138 homers while driving in 735 runs and scoring 710.
Murphy told Martino how his postseason run came together.
"“I think about going five games (in the division series) then straight into the Cubs series. That didn’t give me a chance to take stock on what it was we were embarking on. And so there was something to that that just allowed us to go out and express ourselves with out baseball. It was freaking awesome.”"
Once Murphy left the Mets, who did not pursue a new contract with him after the 2015 season, he became a serious pain in their … necks. In 52 games against New York from 2016-19, he hit .355 with a 1.061 OPS, clubbing 12 homers with 44 RBI to go with 14 doubles.
"“I loved all of those guys, but for the three hours (of the game), you’re like, ‘I’m going to really focus up, just a tick more right here. I just think senses are heightened against your former team.”"
According to Martino’s report, Murphy is taking classes to complete his degree and spending time his family.
Will Murphy be a Hall of Famer? No. But he had a solid career in a sport predicated on failure and for one week in a magical October, he played like the best hitter that ever walked the face of the Earth (with apologies, of course, to the late, great Ted Williams).