Fans can do whatever they want, within reason, at a sporting event. Nobody is above reproach. I am not one that is going to tell you how to behave when you pay your hard earned money to attend a sporting event.
However, on Saturday night, when Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy hit yet another home against his former team, I was surprised that the boos did rain down at CitiField. In 12 games against the Mets this season, he is hitting .438 with six home runs and 19 RBI. He has tortured the Mets pitchers and has thoroughly enjoyed doing so. Going into Sunday, he has at least a hit in all 12 games and his OPS verse the Mets is 1.337. It is really insane what Murphy is doing this season. And for Murphy, with each bob of the head or smile on his face or shout of excitement, you know he is enjoying each and every moment. He has made this personal because it is.
It was last October, that Gary Cohen of SNY described Murphy as a ‘net-negative.’ He added that, “knowing Sandy Alderson and his view of the situation, I don’t think there’s any chance they re-sign him.” And they didn’t. Those words have haunted Cohen since he said them on WFAN and will continue to as Murphy has developed into a different player this season with the Nationals. He is the player that we saw last season in the playoffs, this season in the regular season. You can easily make the argument that with the help of Mets hitting coach Kevin Long, he has finally developed into the hitter the Mets organization thought he could be. He is pulling the baseball more and is hitting more fly balls and has learned how to become a power hitter. He is the lead MVP candidate in the National League and should be the starting second baseman for the National League in the All-Star Game in San Diego. Going into the Sunday game against the Mets, Murphy is hitting .349 with 16 HR and 64 RBI with a .388 OBP so far this season. He has been the MVP in the NL in the 1st half of the season.
After carrying the Mets offensively to the World Series last October, the Mets offered him a 1-year qualifying offer at $15.8 million and he declined. He hit .421 in the NLDS and NLCS combined with 7 HR. He came back down to earth in the World Series when he hit .150 and had his defensive deficiencies rear their ugly head. His performance in the Fall Classic and the fact that the Mets lost to the World Series made it an easier sell to not bring Murphy back. The qualifying offer was a good baseball decision because it gave them a compensatory draft choice after the 1st round when he signed with a new team. Make no mistake about it, the Mets were relieved when Murphy declined the qualifying offer. The Mets reportedly shopped Murphy on multiple occasions and they found no takers during his final years in a Mets uniform. So there were certainly feelings in Mets management that Murphy was not part of the solution and was not worth the long term commitment.
As people say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The Nationals signed Murphy to a three-year contract worth over $37 million dollars last December and the early returns have been off the charts.
So as Murphy continues to hit and continues to make the Mets look bad, Murphy is not the one you should be booing. The Mets helped to create the 2016 Daniel Murphy and decided that he was not good enough. If there is anyone that deserves to be criticized it’s the Mets and their talent evaluators. Murphy is an easy guy to root for. He wanted to be in New York and wanted to be a Met and the Mets did not want to make a long-term commitment. He now uses that in every plate appearance as motivation. The Mets created the offensive monster that now haunts them every single game they play Washington. For Murphy, his revenge now brings Met misery. October seems like decades ago.