A little over seven years ago, former NL All-Star Daniel Murphy shined in New York with the Mets. Now, he’s back where it all started — kind of. Murphy, who retired after the 2020 MLB season, and the Long Island Ducks announced that he will sign with the MLB Partner team, giving the 37-year-old a second chance in professional baseball. It’s a curious move for Murphy, a supremely talented left-handed that tore through Major League pitching in the mid-2010s.
A Look at Murphy
Three-time All-Star Daniel Murphy was at point arguably the best pure hitter in all of Major League Baseball. A career .296 hitter, Murphy only had one year in his MLB career in which he batted less than .266. That came in his final season in 2020, when he hit just .236 with the Colorado Rockies.
Murphy burst on to the scene in 2008 with the New York Mets, the team that drafted him two years earlier in 2006. The ex-Met moved up the Minors as a middle infielder, but began his career sharing time between first base and left field due to concerns about his range at second base. Despite those questions, Murphy would win up playing 837 games at second between 2011-19.
A pure hitter with good pop, Murphy’s shining hour came in 2015 with the Mets. Murphy hit seven home runs over his first nine postseason games in 2015, including four in four games against the Cubs in the NLCS. The 37-year-old cashed in later that winter, as he inked a multi-year deal with division rival Washington.
With the Nationals, Murphy actually posted the two best regular seasons of his career. Murphy finished second in the NL MVP voting in 2016 after he led the NL in OPS (.985) and drove in 104 runs for Washington. The following year, the second baseman hit .322/.384/.543 with 23 home runs and 93 runs batted in. Between 2015-17, Murphy’s .879 OPS ranked as the 20th-best total in all of MLB (min. 1,000 PA).
Murphy spent two-and-a-half seasons in Washington before a midseason trade to the Cubs in 2018. The 37-year-old finished his career with two seasons in Colorado.
The Florida native will join the Central Islip-based Long Island Ducks, a team well-known for hosting notable Major Leagues that have looked to revive their careers. The Ducks already have Murphy’s 2015 Mets teammate in Ruben Tejada on its roster, and have previously hosted the likes of Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Baerga, and Rich Hill. Given that and the Ducks’ proximity to Citi Field — it’s about an hour and a half drive from Flushing to Central Islip — and the Mets’ fanbase, it’s not hard to see why Murphy chose to play for Long Island.
Now, the question now becomes whether Murphy can parlay any success in the Atlantic League to a MLB contract. It’s not out of the question, especially if he can square up and poke balls through the middle of the field. But, a player who has been out of the league for two seasons and a DH-only option would be a tough sell for many, one would presume.