(Photo: Bill Menzel)
Yes, Met fans that happened. It’s not some Halloween trick played on you.
Yes, that was Daniel Murphy just whiffing on a two-hopper from Eric Hosmer in the eighth inning that opened the flood gates for the Royals, scoring three runs in route to Kansas City’s 5-3 win in Game 4 of the World Series.
This is the Mets’ dirty little secret that they hoped to hide over seven games. Murphy – the Division and League Championship Series hero with his seven home runs – still isn’t going to remind anyone of Rogers Hornsby at second base. It was almost as if the Mets hid him there, hoping the ball wouldn’t be hit to him.
Yet, in the eighth inning it was. And folks, you may have seen the Mets chances in the 111th World Series end with that defensive miscue.
David Wright tried to deflect blame from his infield mate, calling this a “New York Mets loss” not a “Daniel Murphy loss,” but understand if Murphy comes up with the ball cleanly the tying run doesn’t score and possibly you have a double play.
Maybe those people in Chicago knew something when they named that famous goat.
Two weeks ago, the cash register was ringing with speculation with what Murphy would make in free agency. The Mets would have been fools if they didn’t re-sign the new found “Bambino” who pretty much carried the club through the first two rounds.
But nine games certainly doesn’t make a career, nor should nine games make a defensively below average middle infielder with a decent bat a star in free agency. Murphy is not a top level player, even if October’s numbers tell you otherwise.
And that’s why the Mets should make the qualifying offer to their second baseman, take the compensation pick and wave him goodbye. Simply put the Mets would be better served by either having Wilmer Flores move to second or turning the position over to Dilson Herrera than giving No. 28 another shot.
Someone will pay Murphy. It just shouldn’t be the Mets.
Look, all the euphoria over Murphy’s home run tear made it easy to say the Mets had to keep him. But when cooler heads prevail, just think about it for a moment. What’s more likely to happen? Is Murphy a changed player because Kevin Long worked with him this year or was it because he was getting some good pitches to hit because he had Yoenis Cespedes hitting behind him in the lineup.
Take this a step further and ask yourself this: Will Murphy continue on this home run tear next season and will hit 25 to 30 homers – more than he ever had in his career – or will he revert to his career norms of hitting around .290 with 10 homers and 60 to 70 RBI with that spectacular defense up the middle.
Before you say move him to another position, remember his offensive production doesn’t translate to a corner position or designated hitter in the American League.
Simply put, if you have Murphy on your team then his shoddy, boneheaded glove is just the cost of doing business.
As we saw tonight, it’s too high of a price to pay.
Maybe the Mets will come back from this and win the next three in a row, but history shows us that it’s probably not the case.
For most of October, the Mets lived with Murphy’s bat. At the end of month, they died with his glove.
And that’s no treat.