During last weekend’s Colorado Rockies Fanfest, there was a short quote by Colorado manager Bud Black that largely flew under the radar that, if it happens, could be a big benefit for the upcoming season.
In a Q&A segment with the media (including Rox Pile) after RockiesFest, Black stated that there could be “a different Daniel Murphy” in 2020. Black did not expound on the statement but dropped the quote after the current state of Murphy’s conditioning was called into question. The line of thought about Murphy came after a question was asked about pitcher Antonio Senzatela reportedly dropping 15 pounds in the offseason.
A “different” Daniel Murphy would definitely be good news as the Rockies need Murphy to have a bounce back season and solidify first base after being maligned for most of 2019 after signing a two-year/$20 million deal before the season. A lot of that criticism has to do with his play but quite a bit has to do with the unbelievable play of DJ LeMahieu, who some say Murphy “replaced” in the Colorado lineup.
Murphy’s Rockies debut got off to a not-so-auspicious start by breaking his finger in the second game of the season. This injury compounded with other issues that led to a 3-12 record to start the season that the Rockies were never able to dig out from under.
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Murphy rushed back from his injury but he was never able to get his season on track. In only 132 games played, he hit .279/.328/.452 with 13 home runs, 78 RBI and 56 runs scored. These stats are extremely pedestrian compared to what LeMahieu surprisingly did in his MVP-worthy first season with the New York Yankees.
If Black is correct and we do see “a different Daniel Murphy,” hopefully it is the Murphy who is a career .298/.343/.458 hitter, won back-to-back Silver Sluggers in 2016 and 2017, and is capable of hitting 20 or more home runs. If not, we could see a Murphy who has only played in 223 games the last two seasons and the grumblings for LeMahieu’s loss will only grow louder.
It has been since 2014 that the Rockies have had a reliable first baseman in Justin Morneau. Maybe “a different Daniel Murphy” can finally end that drought.