The Nationals have interest in free agent Daniel Murphy, a baseball source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Second base has been one of the Nationals’ biggest needs this offseason so a pursuit of Murphy would make a good deal of sense.
Murphy, 31 in April, boasted the best contact rate in baseball among qualified hitters in 2015. After hitting a career-high 14 home runs in the regular season, Murphy smashed seven more in the span of seven postseason games against the Dodgers and Cubs. On the flipside, Murphy is a below average defensive second baseman who owns a weak -6.3 UZR/150 rating. Last year, he managed only a -3.3 UZR/150 rating at second base which actually turned out to be the best of his career.
At the outset of the offseason, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted that Murphy would land a four-year, $56MM deal with the Angels, Yankees, and White Sox getting involved. At the time of this writing, it’s not exactly clear who the leading teams are for the infielder, who turns 31 in April. The incumbent Mets apparently haven’t ruled out a reunion with Murphy, though they would like to sign him to a one- or two-year deal. Meanwhile, with unprotected first round picks will have to think long and hard before signing Murphy, who rejected the Mets’ QO earlier this offseason.
Earlier this week, the Nationals reportedly had trade discussions with the Reds regarding Brandon Phillips. While Phillips is intriguing, Washington is said to be gunning for a left-handed hitting second baseman to bring balance to their lineup. Murphy could do just that, though he cannot offer defense on the level of Danny Espinosa.