The Colorado Rockies chose to not re-sign their All-Star second baseman this offseason, believing they could bring in another player who could fill his spot in the lineup and on the right side of the infield. Now it looks like that replacement thought process has gone to a whole new level.
Daniel Murphy, the prized offseason acquisition of the Colorado Rockies, will reportedly wear number 9 to start the 2019 season. That’s the number vacated by DJ LeMahieu, who signed a deal with the New York Yankees and will not return to the franchise that named him as one of the all-time Top 25 Rockies last season.
Murphy taking over LeMahieu’s number is just the latest in a series of how the soon-to-be-34-year-old is expected to take over for LeMahieu in Colorado. The Rockies expect Murphy to make a lineup that struggled most of last season, including in a Wild Card win over the Chicago Cubs and a National League Division Series sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers. Colorado manager Bud Black told Rox Pile and other reporters (and even season ticket holders) recently that Murphy could hit anywhere from second to fifth in the 2019 Colorado order.
If Murphy bats second, that would be where LeMahieu batted for more than half of his at-bats in a Rockies uniform.
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It’s also possible that Murphy will see some time at second base this season. Signed by the Rockies to primarily play first base, Murphy has seen action at second base in 834 of his 1,206 games over a 10-year Major League career. With that in mind, don’t be surprised if Murphy sees time at second base, supplementing Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson to start the season when needed.
Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich rolled the dice by making Murphy his biggest acquisition of the offseason. He also rolled the dice by allowing LeMahieu to walk away from the Rockies. Now we will see if Murphy can not only take over LeMahieu’s number, but his importance to the team as well.