After his amazing 2015 playoff run, Daniel Murphy’s price tag got a little too high for the Mets. The Nationals stepped up and signed the second baseman.
Of the five National League East teams, the Washington Nationals are winning the offseason. The team unloaded some cap space by trading Yunel Escobar and added pitching depth. But the biggest move came late Thursday afternoon when the Nationals agreed to a three-year deal with second baseman Daniel Murphy. He had a great 2015 season and staying within the division helps Murphy’s fantasy value for next season.
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The Nationals were thought to be set in the infield, especially with Danny Espinosa manning second base. He played in 118 games, hitting .240 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI. However, those numbers are nothing compared to what Daniel Murphy did in 2015.
In 130 games with the New York Mets, Murphy hit 14 home runs and 73 RBI with 31 walks, 38 strikeouts and a .281 batting average. Throughout his career, he’s been called “Doubles” Daniel Murphy for obvious reasons. He has a career 228 doubles, including at least 37 in each of the last four seasons. The Nationals don’t need Murphy to be a power hitter. He just needs to get on base and let his teammates bring him home.
This postseason was something even more outrageous. He played in 14 games and hit seven home runs, 11 RBI and a .328 average. He hit a home run in six straight games. Unfortunately for the Mets, the power ran out in the World Series as he hit just .150 in the five games against the Kansas City Royals.
The Nationals were in the market for some infield help for most of the winter. The team was interested in Ben Zobrist before he went to Chicago and talked to the Cincinnati Reds about Brandon Phillips. Nonetheless, Washington made a move for the best-available second baseman.
Daniel Murphy staying in the NL East keeps his fantasy value consistent. He knows the pitching and he’s comfortable with the fields and dimensions. He’s had success against his divisional opponents, .310 against Philadelphia, .276 against Miami and .268 against Atlanta. Murphy hit either third or fifth in the Mets’ lineup, which means he’ll likely hit ahead of Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth, not a bad duo to hit in front of.
Murphy was drafted in the 14th round in ESPN leagues. With the depth at second base, I can see him drafted around the same spot. His 2015 postseason numbers don’t effect my ranking too much.
Projections: 148 hits, 13 home runs, 77 RBI, .282 average
Draft: Round 12