Friday, December 13, 2013

Daniel Murphy-for-Chris Reed deal could make sense for Dodgers, Mets

Most Dodger fans are expecting Juan Uribe to return on a 1- or 2-year deal. As the best free agent third baseman available, Uribe has every right to test the market (he'd be foolish not to).

But the Dodgers can't wait around forever. It seems Uribe is holding up the Dodgers' offseason moves to some degree -- something that seems highly unlikely just a year ago. The White Sox are (or aren't interested), as are (or aren't) the Marlins.

I've pondered trades for Chase Headley, Will Middlebrooks and Aramis Ramirez -- none of which seem too likely. So, if Uribe or any of these three don't man the hot corner for the Dodgers in 2014, perhaps a second baseman could.

No, I'm not talking about Alexander Guerrero. I'm talking about a player I've seen suggested by some over the last year-plus -- the Mets' Daniel Murphy.

Murphy is far from ideal to play third base for the Dodgers, but he's better than some might expect (myself included).

In limited time (220 2/3 innings), he's posted a 7.2 UZR/150 and a +2 defensive runs saved number. Not bad, but with David Wright in New York, there wasn't much playing time to be had there. That works out to about 25 games played, and he hasn't played the position since 2011, but it also seems like a worthwhile risk. If he's athletic enough to play second, he's athletic enough to play third. His arm is the biggest question mark. If he can make the throw consistently, he should be decent enough defensively. He won't be Uribe there (though, he'd probably have better range), but he'd be solid.

Conversely, Murphy is one of the worst defensvie second basemen in the league, posting a career -7.3 UZR/150 and -26 DRS in more than 2,600 innings. While his bat plays better at the position, his glove plays better at third -- and that's good news for the Dodgers.

Murphy isn't a great hitter and doesn't walk particularly much. His on-base percentage is tied to his batting average. If he isn't hitting, he isn't getting on base. His 6.1 percent career walk rate leaves some to be desired. But at least he doesn't strike out at a ridiculous rate (13 percent).

His .424 career slugging percentage isn't great, but it's somewhat passable for a third baseman. Considering some of the names the Dodgers have thrown out there in recent years, he'd be a considerable upgrade.

Murphy, 29 in April, has a little pop, as he hit a career-high 13 home runs in 2013 and smacked 38 doubles. He's posted above-average OPS+ numbers in all but one year of his career (96 in 2009), so the potential for some extra base hit ability is there.

Steamer and Oliver projections have him posting less than favorable stat lines:

.280/.323/.408, 8 HR, .127 ISO

.283/.324/.406, 10 HR, .123 ISO


I'd bet on a similar stat line he put up in 2013. He's a solid -- if unspectacular -- player. He probably wouldn't be the difference between the Dodgers winning and losing a World Series, but he'd be a nice alternative if the Dodgers don't bring back Uribe. He also seems like a more feasible acquisition rather than a guy like Headley.

I'm thinking Chris Reed gets a deal done. Others in the industry obviously like Reed more than I do, so I'm thinking a Top 10 pitching prospect in the Dodgers' system would be enough to land Murphy from the Mets.

The Mets are reportedly wanting Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers for Ike Davis. A team can never have enough pitching, and Reed could very well make his Major League debut in 2014.


The Dodgers and Mets made a trade on Thursday. New York sent right-handed pitcher Seth Rosin to LA for cash considerations.

The 25-year-old was selected by the Mets (from the Phillies) in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. The Dodgers made no other Rule 5 moves or lost anyone from their system.

Rosin is a big guy -- 6'5, 250 pounds -- and projects as a middle reliever. Because he was a Rule 5 pick, he'll need to remain on the Dodger active roster for the entire season. If not, he'll need to be offered back to the Mets for $25,000. The Dodgers had to pay $50,000 to get him, plus whatever extra they're giving the Mets.

With the Dodgers needing a long reliever, Rosin might fit that bill. They were interested in Jamey Wright at the Winter Meetings, and he has yet to decide on the Dodgers or the Rays. If Wright goes back to Tampa, Rosin's chances of sticking improve dramatically.

The Phillies tried Rosin as a starter in the minors in 2013 with not much success. He posted a 4.33 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8.5 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 6.8 K/9. Rosin is surprisingly adept at throwing strikes, something that eludes most pitchers who are available in the Rule 5. His career walk rate is 2.7 per nine innings. Couple that with an 8.3 K/9 in his career and you have the makings of a solid reliever.

From Phuture Phillies (May 2013):
"Rosin was a 2010 4th round pick by the San Francisco Giants out of the University of Minnesota. In college his fastball worked 91-92 touching 94, though the summer before he touched 96 on the Cape. His secondary offering were fringy and most scouts thought he belonged in the bullpen possibly in a high leverage role. The Giants moved him to the bullpen part time after drafting him, but after acquiring him in the Hunter Pence trade the Phillies moved him back to the rotation."
He's a flyball pitcher, so it appears Dodger Stadium is a good place for him. But he's never thrown a pitch beyond Double-A, so it remains to be seen how he performs in the majors (if the Dodgers keep him around that long).

It's a good gamble for the Dodgers to make. If Rosin is close to replacement level, that'll be just fine.

Photo credit: slgckgc, Flickr


  1. Give Juan a break; he’s got fish to fry.

  2. Dustin,

    To solve 3B, what about a 3-way between the LAD/BOS/SEA where the major players would be ....

    LAD In: 3B Kyle Seager Out: OF Andre Ethier + Cash
    BOS In: OF Andre Ethier & Cash Out: 3B Will Middlebrooks
    SEA In: 3B Will Middlebrooks Out: 3B Kyle Seager

    There would (more than likely) be a couple of other players added in to even out the deal, but with SEA being an extremely LH hitting line-up, they could use another RH hitter to help balance things out. LAD would get the 3B (Seager) that we need, along with a LH hitter to replace Ethier and BOS would get a solid OF who would IMO flourish in not only Boston, but the hitter friendly parks in the AL East.

    1. Mariners aren't getting enough in return. They don't want to move Seager for anything less than a premium return.

    2. That is why I indicated "major players" .... I know that there would have to be more involved to appease SEA than just Middlebrooks. Maybe Middlebrooks and one of LH Reed, 3B Santana, RH Magill, etc ... It would definitely have to be Middlebrooks +, just wasn't sure what the "+" would have to be to get the deal done.

  3. Really don't see Sesttle moving Seager. Definitely don't see them moving him for anything less than a sure thing.