MINNEAPOLIS -- From the White House to Target Field for the All-Star Game, it's already been quite a season for Daniel Murphy. Sitting at his very own podium for yesterday's media session, surrounded by the best players in the National League, seemed a bit much for even the low-key Murphy to digest.
He missed the season's first two games after the birth of his first child March 31. Taking paternity leave led to talk-show backlash, and in June Murphy attended a White House conference on issues facing working fathers.
Murphy said he's "honored to be here'' but added that if the All-Star break had been a week later, there would have been a good chance that a few other Mets -- David Wright, Lucas Duda, Jon Niese -- would have been sitting at adjacent tables.
Or maybe they'd be in Minneapolis and Murphy would be home. "They've picked me up lately,'' he said.
The point being that the Mets have been playing much better baseball, as their 8-2 homestand proved. Although Murphy is a big reason the Mets are within seven games of first place in the NL East, their lone All-Star could be shopped in an effort to improve the team.
Murphy has a slash line of .294/.342/.413 and has been the Mets' most consistent threat. But Sandy Alderson has depth at the position, with Wilmer Flores tearing up Triple-A Las Vegas, and the lefty-hitting Murphy could be an attractive trade chip, especially for an AL club that might use him at DH and at second. The Mets also would save roughly $9 million in Murphy's expected bump from arbitration.
"I don't think I worry about it too often,'' he said. "It's nice, I guess, that other teams value what I do. But I try to put that stuff out of my mind. My dad said, 'Control things that you can control.' That's one of those things outside my control.''
As is the schedule, and the All-Star break seemed to arrive at a bad time for the surging Mets, who just swept the Marlins. When asked what triggered the offensive turnaround, Murphy pointed to Travis d'Arnaud, hitting .295/.338/.525 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 16 games since his June 24 promotion.
"I think the lineup just getting longer,'' Murphy said, "and making things tougher on opposing pitchers. We're having good at-bats. I don't read into it any more than that. We're kind of feeding off each other.''
After a 92-game workload, Murphy won't get his usual rest over the break. But he's happy with the Midwest for a few days and plans to head to San Diego ahead of the Mets to stay with Dillon Gee for a mini-vacation. The three-game series against the Padres starts Friday.
"We're playing really well,'' Murphy said. "It's been exciting to watch.''
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