The Padres have inquired on Mets INF/OF Daniel Murphy, along with the Blue Jays and Tigers. Murphy, a natural third baseman, has been blocked by David Wright in the past. The Mets have tried to transition him into an everyday second baseman, but he was sidelined by injuries. He can also play the outfield, although he logs a well-below-par UZR defensive statistic. He has posted above-average UZR/150 marks at second base in 24 games (albeit small sample size 12.0 UZR/150) and above-average marks at his natural position at third (6.3 UZR/150) in 28 games, while also posting a 9.3 UZR/150 in 153 career games at first base. First base is stocked, though, for the Padres, covered by top-prospect Anthony Rizzo and the hitting emergence of Jesus Guzman. Murphy batted .320/.362/.448 with six home runs and 49 RBIs last year in 391 at-bats. He also hit 12 home runs in 2009 while batting .266/.313/.427 with 38 doubles and four triples in a full season. He is a career .292/.343/.441 hitter. The Padres are looking to improve their production against right-handed pitching.
It should be noted, while his outfield UZR/150 is well below average at -9.8 UZR/150, he is very new to the transition. Having said that, I don’t see the need for Murphy in the outfield at PETCO Park, especially given the other internal options. So what does this mean for the Padres? The Padres could attempt to use Murphy as a platoon scenario at second base with Logan Forsythe,if they can dump Orlando Hudson‘s salary. Speaking of Orlando Hudson, the Mets once had interest in the current Padres second baseman. However, that has reportedly seemed to soften.
It also begs the question: Would a move like this mean anything for Chase Headley, as well? The Padres have had a great deal of interest in their third baseman, and they have three prospects who could be his successor at third: Forsythe, a natural third baseman, who could vie for the second base job if/when Hudson’s salary can be dumped, James Darnell and top-prospect Jedd Gyorko.
Seeing as it is probably a transition year for the Padres, and possible telling statements made by the new general manager Josh Byrnes, the Padres could deal their most valuable available chip in Headley, if they are overwhelmed by an offer. It sounds like they wouldn’t rule out dealing current players if it leads to a long-term gain.
I could see a trade with the Mets working out very well. If the Padres could land Murphy, they could have insurance for either Headley (until Gyorko is ready) and for Hudson at second. From a scouting report regarding Murphy’s defense transition to second base from the Boston Globe: “He’s a good enough athlete where he can pull it off,’’ said the scout, “but it will take time just to learn all the nuances of the position. I can see their thinking. He can hit. A sound player. This would be a nice conversion for them at a position they need help at.”
What would it take to land the versatile left-handed bat? Hudson, maybe Will Venable? Tell me what you think. With Jose Reyes leaving, maybe the Mets would have interest in Jason Bartlett. The Padres would like to move either Bartlett or Hudson. Bartlett maybe more realistic.