The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with All-Star infielder Daniel Murphy on Wednesday, finalizing a three-year contract with the 2015 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. Right-handed pitcher Erik Davis was designated for assignment. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Murphy joins the Nationals after spending the first 10 years of his professional career in the New York Mets organization, including seven seasons in the Major Leagues with Washington’s divisional foe. A versatile infielder, Murphy has appeared at second base (508 games), first base (190 games), third base (86 games), and in the outfield (60 games) during his MLB tenure.
Murphy is a career .288 hitter who has posted a .331 on-base percentage and a .424 slugging percentage over 903 MLB games. During a 2015 season in which he hit .281/.322/.449, Murphy clubbed 38 doubles, two triples and 14 home runs, while driving in 73 for the Mets.
A strong contact hitter, Murphy posted the lowest percentage of swinging strikes (6.9) in the National League in 2015, along with the highest contact percentage among all NL hitters (91.0). He also ranked in the top 10 among qualified NL left-handed-hitting infielders in batting average (3rd), on-base percentage (9th), and slugging percentage (9th).
Murphy’s 38 total strikeouts in 2015 were the fewest by a left-handed hitter in the Major Leagues, among players who appeared in at least 115 games. He walked (31 BB) nearly as often as he struck out.
It was the 2015 postseason, however, where Murphy emerged as one of the game’s most dangerous hitters, and propelled the Mets to the World Series with a .421 combined batting average in the National League Division Series (.333) and NLCS (.529), along with seven home runs and 11 RBI. The NLCS MVP, Murphy homered in every game of the Mets’ sweep over the Chicago Cubs - four home runs in 18 plate appearances - and singlehandedly drove in 29 percent of New York’s total runs in the series.
Consistency has more often been Murphy’s hallmark, however, as the 30-year-old has posted a full-season batting average below .280 only once in his big league career (.266, 2009) and has an average of .291 since the start of 2011. An All-Star for the Mets in 2014, Murphy earned himself a trip to the Mid-Summer Classic in Minnesota by hitting .294 with a .342 on-base percentage and a .413 slugging percentage, along with 23 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 37 RBI in his first 92 games of the season.
Murphy, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., was originally selected by the New York Mets in the 13th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major league debut just more than two years later, on Aug. 2, 2008, and appeared in 49 games for the Mets that season.
Davis, 29, appeared in 37 games across three minor league levels in 2015, going 1-2 with three saves and a 3.88 ERA. Davis, who missed the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 2, 2014, made his debut in 2013. He posted a 3.12 ERA in 10 appearances during a pair of MLB stints. Davis was acquired, along with cash considerations, from the San Diego Padres in exchange for infielder Alberto Gonzalez on March 28, 2011.