Sorry Mariners fans, but it may be time to see the productive Tom Murphy go. In terms of he and Omar Narvaez, how often can a team brag about their top two backstops hitting above .260? And while a catcher with pop is always a plus, Murphy only trails Omar by three in the long ball department.
The Mariners should keep Omar because he is a first-string with pop who hits for higher than Murphy. And it makes sense to keep Austin Nola over Murphy since he more fits into this rebuild, being just a rookie with more seasons ahead of him. Not to mention Nola rocks a .308 average through his first 16 contests.
The only argument in favor of Murphy over Omar is the defense. Despite playing almost half as many games as Omar, Murphy has three fewer errors, a better CS percentage, and a better fielding percentage overall by two points. However, Omar Narvaez should be our first-string of the future.
So why would our division leader benefit from Tom Murphy? For starters, MLB’s Mark Feinsand picked the Astros as just two of the 30 clubs with backstop as their biggest 2019 need (Braves). Brian McCann is of course back where he began while Martin Maldonado became a Royal this offseason. Current first-string Robinson Chirinos is equal to Omar in homers and has more RBI’s. However, he is batting under .230.
And regarding Houston’s current backup, Max Stassi is 20 points below Mendoza which won’t cut it. Especially for a club trying to win their second title in three years. The Astros should ideally option down Stassi and acquire the more experienced, better-hitting Murphy, for the 2019 stretch run.
No one will beat them in the West this year and this club doesn’t mess around. Houston management knows what they’re doing and will want dynamite performances from all positions, even backup catcher.
In terms of who our Mariners should snatch in return, we should set our eyes on their 28th-overall prospect, Cristian Javier. You ask, why would a team with a farm as high-ranked as Houston’s trade for a backup catcher? Because clearly Dipoto can’t get enough of this rebuilding thing and a pitcher prospect for them is as expendable as one of the hundreds who sit in King’s Court.
I mean seriously, Jeff Luhnow. You already have two aces in Verlander and Cole. Can’t you throw your cellar-dwelling West rival a youthful bone? Topped out by righty Forrest Whitley, 12 pitchers rank above Cristian Javier in their Pipeline Top 30.
And judging by history, they will all become phenoms for the Astros. While it came down to Javier and 30th-ranked pitcher Nivaldo Rodriguez, Javier has a better fastball. Rodriguez’s fastball tops out at 92 mph while Javier’s reaches 95.
And Cristian Javier sounds like quite the fooler of hitters. Per his Pipeline report, the righty “regularly misses bats.” Not to mention that his “heater features tremendous shape and a high spin rate that creates riding action, so hitters constantly swing under it.”
As is the story of our 2019 bullpen, it’s not if you throw a fastball but where it lands. And despite being known as a starter, inconsistent strike-throwing make him a potential “asset as a multi-inning reliever.” It would, however, be nice to have an option for both the rotation and long relief.