- The Nationals asked about Murphy at the trade deadline in 2014 and have long liked him, Mark Zuckerman tweets. Murphy was an even better fit given the Nats’ need for a solid left-handed hitter in their lineup.
- Murphy’s lefty swing might’ve been a key factor in his signing, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). Rosenthal had heard that Murphy was a “low priority” for Washington as the team looked for second base alternatives after a proposed trade for Brandon Phillips fell apart. Since the Nats had such a glaring need for a left-handed hitter, that gave Murphy the edge over fellow free agent Howie Kendrick (a right-handed hitter) or other trade options.
- In another set of tweets from Rosenthal, he believes the qualifying offer played a role in Murphy’s contract. Any team signing Murphy would’ve had to give up a first-rounder (or second-rounder, in the case of a protected pick) as compensation, so the Nats had to surrender the 17th overall pick in the draft. Since that pick had a rough valuation of $10MM, that “amounts to a tax” beyond what the team was willing to pay Murphy. If teams were hesitant about giving up a pick for Murphy, that may well have depressed his market; MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes thought Murphy would sign for a four-year/$56MM deal this offseason.
- Though Murphy and Anthony Rendon can both play second and third, MLB.com’s William Ladson sees Murphy and Danny Espinosa as the current favorites to be Washington’s Opening Day middle infielders (Twitter links). Since Murphy is a below-average defender, however, Ladson sees the Nats acquiring a glove-first bench option to spell Murphy in the late innings of games. Espinosa himself might eventually fill this role, though that will depend on when or if Trea Turner is able to take over the everyday shortstop job.
- Murphy going to D.C. adds even more depth to an already-burgeoning rivalry between the Nationals and Mets, the New York Times’ Tim Rohan writes. Rohan recaps Murphy’s important role in this era of Mets baseball and also the reasons why he was ultimately an expendable piece for the club.