*Editor's Note* - This was written before Murfee was claimed by the Braves on 11/14/2023.
If you see a photo of RHP Penn Murfee wearing Mets gear, it is not a tacky Halloween costume. The Mariners let Murfee go after five years and the Mets sensibly scooped him up. The Mariners recruited Murfee and he spent the last several years with various teams within the Mariner system.
Murfee pitched very well in 2023 before his injury got in the way. He struck out 16 batters during the 14 innings he pitched. He had an ERA of 1.29 and a WHIP of 1.07, somewhat higher than his career ERA and WHIP.
Murfee Was a Rookie in 2022
It is hard to believe that Murfee was a rookie only last year since he had such an important role on the team. Murfee made his major league debut on April 29, 2022, in a game against the Marlins.
He achieved some impressive rookie milestones in Mariners' history.
- He was the third rookie to achieve an ERA lower than 3.0, an opponent batting average lower than .200, and a WHIP under 1.00. Joel Piñero and Rafael Soriano also accomplished these numbers as well in 2001 and 2003, respectively.
- · He led rookies in percentage of hard hits
- Murfee struck a batter out 20 games in a row. Here he trails only Soriano who had one more game in his strikeout series.
Unfortunately, the Tommy John surgery that he needed means that Murfee will likely not pitch until the 2025 season. When healthy, he has three main pitches: a sinker at 89 MPH, a 4-seam fastball at 89 MPH, and a sweeper at 80 MPH.
How will Murfee adjust to Queens? He is a native of Tennessee, he attended Vanderbilt, but finished college at Santa Clara in California. (I have always had a soft spot for Murfee as my daughter is also an SCU alum. A confession is that I always want to change "Murfee" to "Murphy.") I hope that he will enjoy his time in Queens, New York.
Hopefully, Murfee will inform his new team of his guitar skills as he was part of the successful Spring Training Mariner band. I am sad to lose Murfee because he was such a strong reliever. Thank you, Penn Murfee, for all your contributions to the Mariners. All the best to you with the Mets.