Colorado Rockies: GM Jeff Bridich on 2020 expectations for Daniel Murphy
The Colorado Rockies lost a lot of players via free agency last offseason and only made one MLB addition via and he did not play as well as the Rockies had hoped.
Daniel Murphy did not have a great season in 2019 in, essentially, replacing DJ LeMahieu, who signed for the same contract length and money and came in 4th in the AL MVP race.
As Jeff Bridich said at the Rockies end of the season presser, Murphy’s season “all the way around was just OK.”
On Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, Bridich spoke with the media, including Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry, for an extended period of time and among the bevy of topics that he was asked about, one of them was about his thoughts on Murphy’s 2019 season and his expectations for 2020.
For his 2019 season, Bridich elaborated more on his comments from two months ago.
“The reality of his season, 48 hours deep, was bad luck,” said Bridich.
As you may remember, in just the second game of the season, he broke his finger while fielding a groundball.
Bridich said that Murphy “probably came back too quickly, for the right reasons.” He continued:
"“Anytime a guy switches teams,” said Bridich, “he’s built to want to hold up what he signed up for. He was frustrated at the time. He wanted to get back to try to do his part and feeling responsible. But looking back, he probably came back too early. I think everybody understands why he did it and it was for the right reasons.”"
When he returned, he still did not play particularly well, as offensively, he played to a 87 OPS+ but Bridich says that Murphy has a “certain fit on the club.”
"“[Murphy has] a certain skillset offensively that he has that fits on our club and complements other guys on our club,” said Bridich. “Him learning about some of the altitude while playing in the altitude, that was real for him. If we can just have a normal season for him, he’s going to plug in and be a consistent, quality at-bat."
He later said that he thinks that Murphy is “going to hit more home runs and drive in more runs. And I think he will fit in the way he was meant to fit in with a full, healthy season.”
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Defensively, Murphy transitioned to first base full-time and, he was actually slightly above league average with 2 fDRS but Bridich said that they learned some things about him playing first base through the season and, therefore, make some changes.
"“We learned some lessons about him at first base,” said Bridich. “We might have to position him differently, maybe closer to first base in certain ways. That was our doing. That was a collective, collaborative process. And we learned some of that. Some of it has to do with Ryan McMahon and how plays the second base position, the confidence he gave everybody in terms of how he can play that spot.”"
So Bridich is betting on Murphy, and frankly, the entire team, to be healthier and therefore, have a better record than they did in 2019 and be the playoff contender that they and many fans expected.
Stay tuned for more of our coverage from the Winter Meetings as we have much more to come from Bridich and others on the Rockies and the NL West.