Seattle Mariners: Could Daniel Murphy be the M’s new DH?
What if Daniel Murphy made the Mariners his fourth team? The man is a free agent this offseason and has a solid résumé behind him.
Seven home runs in one postseason is one way to make yourself noticed. And the Nationals definitely did as they inked him to a multi-year deal on Christmas Eve of 2015.
You know how many players sign a fat free agent deal (ahem… Chone Figgins) and bust with that team? It’s understandable, a lot of pressure comes with knowing you’re rolling in the deep to turn a franchise around in multiple years.
As a National, Murphy was the exception to that with two All Star appearances capped by a .329 batting average in his two-and-a-half years with the team. This past August, the Nats admitted defeat to their disappointing season and trade Murphy and his expiring contract.
Now before anyone thinks about Murphy as a Mariner, here’s the thing – it should only happen if Nelson Cruz doesn’t re-sign. If 2018 was his last in Seattle, that opens up the magical door of what was $14 million of the Mariners’ payroll. They would also, in all likelihood, be on the hunt for a new designated hitter.
Murphy is primarily a second baseman and it’s safe to say the Mariners are set there for a while. He’s played first base, but Ryon Healy is under team control and Daniel Vogelbach has probably played his final innings in Seattle. Would Murphy be interested in replacing Cruz?
Now if Jerry doesn’t want Cruz back, good luck using the word “replace” and “Nelson Cruz” in the same sentence. But Daniel Murphy will be searching for work this offseason and has proven his postseason presence just as well as Cruz did as a Ranger seven years ago.
The only concern is would Murphy want to sacrifice his field time to become a converted designated hitter? Maybe he would realize that’s part of the American League experience. His three-year Nationals contract was his biggest to date but would he ask for more? More than Cruz’s was with the Mariners? Unlike Nellie, he doesn’t show signs of needing a walker when running. His defense under the big lights is still in the air as he made crucial errors as a Met in the 2015 Fall Classic. The last thing the Mariners need are more franchise bloopers.
This signing may never happen. It likely won’t if Cruz returns next season. The point is, Dipoto has a great option here. However, there is only one Nelson Cruz and he should remain a Mariner. It shouldn’t have to come to a potential Murphy contract.