Daniel Murphy walked up to the Citi Field doors to gather his things, hugging Wilmer Flores along the way. It was the day after the Royals beat the Mets in the World Series and Murphy, a hero in the first two postseason rounds who struggled against Kansas City, had learned how quickly things can change.
He was somber — grieving, he said. As it turned out, that would be his last goodbye.
According to multiple reports, Murphy, 30, has agreed to a three-year, $37.5-million contract with the division rival Washington Nationals. Because Murphy rejected his one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer from the Mets and became a free agent, the Nationals will lose their first-round draft pick, the 16th overall, and the Mets will gain a compensation-round pick. The contract won’t be official until Murphy passes a physical.
Murphy, 30, will add some pop to the lineup for the Nationals, who finished seven games behind the NL East champion Mets in 2015. He has a career slash line of .288/.331/.424 and was the Mets’ lone representative in the 2014 All-Star Game.
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He hit .281 with 14 home runs and 73 RBIs in the 2015 regular season. Most memorably, the NLCS MVP homered in six straight postseason games and totaled seven homers and 11 RBIs in 38 at-bats (nine games) in the NLDS and NLCS.
The lefthanded-hitting Murphy homered twice against Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw and once each against the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke and the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, also a lefthander. Arrieta, Greinke and Kershaw finished 1-2-3 in the National League Cy Young Award voting, totaling all 30 first-place votes.
But Murphy was 3-for-20 without an extra-base hit in the World Series, and his fielding — always a concern — caught up with him. He misplayed a slow chopper in the eighth inning of Game 4, helping the Royals score three runs and turn a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 victory. He also made an error in a five-run 12th inning that gave the Royals a 7-2 victory in Game 5, the final game of the Series.
Murphy’s tenure with the Mets essentially ended when he rejected the qualifying offer. He was thought to be in the market for a larger, multiyear deal and the Mets, still practicing austerity, didn’t appear to be the team to make it happen. Instead, they traded for Neil Walker, who is a much better defensive player. He had a .989 fielding percentage to Murphy’s .979 and exhibited better range, according to baseball-reference.com.