Murphy Set to Sign with Rockies, Allows Desmond to Return to Outfield

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The Rockies have addressed their primary off-season goals in one move.

Daniel Murphy reportedly has agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal with the Rockies, a possibility that was first reported last week by Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Murphy must undergo a physical before the deal can be finalized.

In signing Murphy, they added a veteran, proven big-league bat who can step in at first base, which allows the Rockies to look at a possible platoon at second of prospects Garrett Hampson, a right-handed hitter, and Ryan McMahon, a left-handed hitter.

It also means that Ian Desmond can return to the outfield, giving the Rockies a right-handed-hitting outfielder. A year ago, the Rockies top four outfielders were all left-handed hitters, and so were the outfield prospects at Triple-A Albuquerque.

A key factor in signing Murphy is the length of his contract will not interfere with efforts for the Rockies to make a strong effort to sign Nolan Arenado to a long-term deal in advance of him becoming a free agent next fall.

And Murphy has had success at Coors Field, where he has three home runs and 19 RBI in 112 career at-bats. His .894 OPS at Coors Field is his fifth highest in current NL parks, and his .536 slugging percentage is his third best in an NL park. He has a career .333 average, sixth among NL parks, and .358 in on-base percentage, ninth best.

With the contract for only two years it also should make Murphy marketable if the Rockies eventually decided to move McMahon to first base once top-rated prospect Brendan Rodgers is ready for the big leagues. Rodgers is expected to open the 2019 season at Albuquerque.

Murphy has primarily played second base in his 10-year career, appearing in 834 games at second, but is considered only average at the position. He has played 225 games at first base and played third base in 87 games and left field in 60 games, possessing the versatility the Rockies stress from rookie ball to the big leagues. He has a career .993 fielding percentage at first base compared to .983 at second base, .982 in left field and .956 at third base.

He has been involved in the post-season each of the last four seasons – with the Mets in 2015, the Nationals in 2016-17, and the Cubs in 2018. A career .309 hitter with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 113 post-season at-bats, Murphy was MVP of 2015 NLCS for the Cubs against the Dodgers, going 9-for-17 with four home runs.

THE MURPHY FILES

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