After deciding not to bring back Jonathan Schoop, it confirmed what many had already expected which is that the Milwaukee Brewers are still looking for their 2019 second baseman. There are a lot of options in free agency but perhaps the best fit could be veteran Daniel Murphy.
Consistency in the middle infield was something that eluded the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018. Orlando Arcia was inconsistent offensively for much of the year and the Jonathan Schoop trade never panned out.
With a number of options available in free agency to fill the void at second, the best fit and potentially biggest contributor is lefty Daniel Murphy. The question is, will GM David Stearns be willing to pay Murphy the money that his numbers demand?
Daniel Murphy at the plate
Once again, Daniel Murphy is coming off of another fantastic year offensively. Beginning 2018 with the Washington Nationals, Murphy was traded to the Chicago Cubs before the August 31st deadline.
Appearing in 91 games in 2018, Murphy recorded a slash line of .299/.336/.454 and an OPS of .790. All of which are very similar to his career averages, which can give the Milwaukee Brewers confidence that last season was no fluke.
Out of all of Murphy’s stats, what may make him the most appealing is his ability to get on base and his low strikeout rate.
The way that Stearns wants to build this Brewers team, along with most GMs in baseball, is by filling the lineup with players just like Murphy.
Over his career, which began in 2008, Murphy has an OBP of .344 and in over 4,700 at-bats, he has struck out just 12.9% of the time. Offensively, Murphy would be an ideal addition to the Milwaukee Brewers lineup.
How much will Murphy cost?
Murphy had just finished up a three year contract that paid him $37.5 million over that period. That’s an average of $12.5 million per year and, realistically, he’s going to command that annual figure once again, if not more.
This would be a big pay-day for the small market Milwaukee Brewers, whose total payroll will most likely fall between $100-110 million this season.
However, Murphy is the kind of player Milwaukee needs if they hope to make it to the World Series next season.
There have been rumblings about Mike Moustakas coming back for another year and if that were to happen, he would command a similar contract to Murphy.
That being said, Murphy is a much better fit on offense as Moose has a career OBP of .307 and strikes out more frequently. In addition, the Brewers defense will be stronger with Murphy who is a natural second baseman, which allows Travis Shaw to return to third base.
Why does Murphy make sense?
Although he will come at a hefty price, Murphy brings stability to the position with an exceptional approach at the plate, as well as adding another veteran presence in the locker room with postseason experience, which is invaluable come September and October.
Murphy has appeared in 25 playoff games and has a slash line of .309/.398/.588, with an OPS of .986. He was also named the 2015 NLCS MVP.
Signing Murphy will also add another left-handed bat to the Milwaukee Brewers lineup. As it currently stands, the only consistent left-handed starters for 2019 will be Travis Shaw and Christian Yelich.
Lastly, Murphy at age 34 may not be looking for the four or five year deal as a younger player would. The Milwaukee Brewers are grooming Keston Hiura in the minors to take over the second base role, potentially in 2020.
So a one or maybe two-year deal is all Milwaukee is looking to offer and Murphy could be open to that option.
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Daniel Murphy is the type of player Stearns would love to add to this lineup and even though he has a high asking price, the Brewers know they’ll get a quality player in return.