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MLB Today: Daniel Murphy Working on D

February 6, 2012 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Daniel Murphy needs to improve his defense for the New York Mets.
David Murphy can definitely hit, but his fielding needs plenty of work.

We all know Daniel Murphy can hit, as evidenced by his .320 mark before suffering a season-ending torn MCL in early-August. Now, will he hit .320 again? That’s highly doubtful, but there is no doubt that he’s one of the more gifted hitters on the Mets and they desperately need his bat in the lineup.

And here’s where the problem begins.

Murphy is a lousy second baseman, but giving him that job is pretty much the only way they can keep him on the field every game.

So this spring Murphy is going to be spending a lot of time with New York’s new infield coach, Tim Teufel, working on his footwork around the bag – footwork that indirectly led to season-ending injuries in each of the past two seasons.

Justin Turner will also be in the mix for the second base job on the Mets, but the keystone corner is Murphy’s to lose, and if he can just show a modicum of improvement on the field, his bat will carry him to Fantasy prominence.

Over in the NL Central, while many wonder how the Cards will win without Albert Pujols, let’s not forget that they’re getting another pretty important player back this year with the return of starter Adam Wainwright.

Will he immediately reassume his role as the team’s ace? That’s hard to say, because pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery generally take 12-to-18 months to fully bounce back, so while Wainwright is on schedule to return this spring, how long will it take him to completely recover his velocity, command and feel of his pitches? That remains an unknown, but it’s obvious the Cardinals are bullish on a full and speedy recover, picking up both his 2012 and 2013 options right after the World Series.

This much we do know: you can get Wainwright way cheaper (around the 11th round) this spring than he’s been in years and could be again for a very long time. He’s only 30, reports on his progress have been promising, and he’s a absolute bull at 6’7”, 230, so he should have no problem working his way back to a heavy workload by, say, the second half of the season. If you’re willing to ride out some potential struggles in the first half with command, endurance, etc., you may be handsomely rewarded for your investment.

In keeper leagues, if you can trade for Wainwright now while he’s still below his traditional market value, you will likely be very happy with the move two years from now.

There had been talk a few weeks ago that the Orioles were in the mix for Coco Crisp and that if they had landed him, they would have turned around and dealt Adam Jones. This could be one of those great moves that you never make, because I still believe that a major, major breakout is coming for Jones.

All he did last year was set new personal bests in games, doubles, homers, RBI, steals and slugging. Just 26, Jones will be heading into his power prime years this season, and I can see him ultimately topping out at 35 homers, 20 steals and a .290 BA. This young centre fielder is on the cusp of something special; no wonder Atlanta spent months trying to land him.

This spring will be the last chance you have to draft Jones at a discounted rate.

Quick Hits

  • Jeremy Guthrie – who has been rumoured to be on the trading block pretty much as long as he’s been in Baltimore – was finally dealt, landing in Colorado. What? The Rox landed another starting pitcher? Not to worry. In this instance, at least they sent another starter back to B-More (Jason Hammel) and also tossed in a pretty good reliever in Matt Lindstrom.

    Guthrie’s lack of Ks made him a pretty weak option in any format, but now that he’s moved to Colorado, his value declines even more. Man, he’s going to be serving up a crapload of gopher balls in Coors.

    The most interesting player in this deal is Lindstrom, who has closing experience (his 45 career saves is more than double current projected Oriole closer Jim Johnson’s total) and could be a serious sleeper with the move (a) away from Coors (not that Camden Yards is a great pitcher’s park, but it’s not the hitter haven that Coors Field is); and (b) to a bullpen that is very short on talent and closing experience. Can you say opportunity?

  • Congrats to Anibal Sanchez – the first player in three tries to beat ownership in arbitration this winter. Miami offered him $6.9 million, but the panel sided with his $8 million demand. That’s a raise of more than double what he made last year ($3.7 million), and while his bottom line numbers don’t scream at you (8-9, 3.67), he was actually much better than this, shattering his career high with his first 200-K season and suffering from a July-August swoon that brought down what was otherwise a phenomenal season (even if his crappy win total didn’t reflect it). He was brilliant in May (4-0, 1.66, 44 Ks in 43 1/3 IP, .183 BAA), pretty sharp in June (1-0 with four no-decisions, 3.41, 33 Ks in 31 2/3 IP) and dynamite to end the season (going 1-2, 2.03 with 34 Ks in 31 IP and a .188 BAA in September).

RotoRob’s Fantasy Baseball 365 Podcast

Don’t forget to join Buck, Tim and I every Thursday at 11 p.m. EST as we analyze all the Fantasy baseball worthy news of the day. This week we’ll break down our Second Base Rankings, which will be released on the site later this week. You can tune in here.

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