The biggest offseason acquisition for the Colorado Rockies is off to a less-than-inspiring start with his new team. Stop us if you’ve heard that one before.
No, we’re not hopping in the time machine and talking about Ian Desmond here. Unfortunately, we are talking about 2019 and referencing Daniel Murphy and his slow start in his first season with the Colorado Rockies.
Heading into Sunday’s action, Murphy, thought to be the key to Colorado fixing its recent offensive struggles, is hitting well below .200 and his struggles at the plate continued on Saturday in Colorado’s 2-1 loss in Philadelphia. He struck in his first two at-bats on Saturday and then grounded out with the bases loaded in the seventh to drop his average for the season to .182.
With a career batting average of .299 in his 10 big league seasons before signing in the offseason with Colorado, Murphy simply hasn’t been the same player since suffering an avulsion fracture of his left index finger in Colorado’s second game of the season. Murphy has told us that the finger isn’t healed and that he is still playing with a brace on the tip of his finger as the healing process slowly continues. What he hasn’t told us is exactly how that is affecting his grip, swing and ability to put the ball into play as he did in seasons past.
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Since coming off the injured list for an April 24 home game against Washington, Murphy is hitting 11-for-55 and has had multiple hits in just one contest. Those numbers are not helping Murphy or the Rockies.
Murphy has seen a drop in not only his production this season but his plate appearances as well, with Mark Reynolds grabbing the majority of time at first base in recent games. Murphy started the game on the bench for a fifth consecutive contest on Friday before being tabbed to start on Saturday.
With Brendan Rodgers on the roster and Ryan McMahon needing playing time, perhaps now is the perfect time for Murphy to head back to the injured list and let Rodgers and McMahon handle second base while Reynolds and McMahon see time at first. A stint on the injured list might not completely heal Murphy’s finger and help him find his approach again at the plate, but something has to be done to help him return to form.
There is something to be said for players fighting their way through injuries. However, when the injury being fought through is hurting the team rather than helping it, maybe it’s time to examine other options. For Murphy and the Rockies, that time is now and that option is a return trip to the injured list.