Despite an injury plagued season split between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals in 2018, expectations were high when Daniel Murphy signed with the Rockies before the 2019 season. After a wondrous stretch as one of the best hitters in baseball with the New York Mets and Washington Nationals, it wasn’t unrealistic to expect Murphy to quickly return to his dominant ways in the hitter friendly Coors Field. His “down” year in 2018 still yielded a .299 batting average, a performance that’s only considered poor when the two years prior produced averages of .347 and .322, the former which was good for second in the MLB behind D.J. LeMahieu that year.
Murphy’s story in Colorado got off to about as bad a start as you could imagine when he broke a finger on his left hand, robbing him of more than a month of the season. That bad fortune seemingly set the tone for the rest of his time with the Rockies. Perhaps due to the lingering effects of the broken finger, Murphy struggled the rest of the season, posting a .279 batting average, the worst of his career (at the time).
When 2020 came around, the hope was that a full offseason (and then some) would give Murphy proper time to fully heal his finger and return to the player he’d been on the east coast. Through the first third of the season, it seemed like that might be the case, as Murphy was sitting on a .313 average following Colorado’s 10-6 win over the Texas Rangers on August 16th, Murphy’s 21st game played.
However, as the Rockies collapsed, so did Murphy. He only appeared in another 19 games rounding his total out at an even 40, just two-thirds of the 60-game season. By the final stretch, Murphy’s spot at first base had been taken over, mostly by Josh Fuentes, and his appearances as the DH were few and far between. Those 19 games yielded a massive drop in productivity as Murphy’s batting average plummeted to .236.
But it wasn’t just in batting average where Murphy had his struggles. His .275 OBP was a far cry from his .341 career mark, and his .608 OPS was nearly two-hundred points behind the .796 number he’d posted across his career.His performance at first base did nothing to redeem his batting woes as his four errors in 2020 gave him a Defensive Runs Saved value of -3.
Murphy’s difficult stint in Colorado was only made worse by the stellar two seasons D.J. LeMahieu has showcased in New York since leaving the Rockies via free agency. Daniel Murphy may escape from overwhelming labels as a “free agent bust” for the Rockies, but only due to the club’s disastrous track record with free agents in recent memory. He’ll simply be one of many mistakes for which the Colorado Rockies front office is responsible.
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Now that the Dodgers got their World Series crown and we can officially put the 2020 baseball season behind us, we can begin thinking about 2021 and how the Rockies will feel going into Spring Training. There will be plenty of offseason transactions, hopefully some made by the Rockies after a very quiet winter last year, but for now Bleacher Report takes a look at how every team stacks up with what they have currently.
They’ve got the Rockies as the 24th best team as of today and it’s hard to argue with that ranking. The bullpen was a disaster and will need to be a point of focus this offseason. The team will also need to figure out how they’re going to get consistent production at the plate from the bottom part of the line-up. Until they prove to be moving in the right direction in these areas, I’d say 24 is a pretty accurate assessment. The good news is there are over 150 days for them to make a move to boost that ranking.
If you’re like me, the beginning of the MLB season and the onslaught of COVID-19 cases had you seriously doubting the league’s ability to complete the season during the pandemic. With the Marlins hit hardest, the Cardinals not far behind, and other cases peppers across the league, MLB faced a tall order in trying to complete the season without the bubble format used in the NBA and NHL. But when all was said and done, they managed to pull it off, crowing the Dodgers World Series champions for the 2020 season.
But wait, there’s more! Maybe baseball shouldn’t be as proud as Manfred says. Even the conclusion of the season was overshadowed by COVID as Justin Turner was removed in the eighth inning of game 6 for a positive test result from earlier in the day and then proceeded to rejoin his teammates on the field, sometimes without a mask, to celebrate the victory. MLB has now announced a formal investigation being made into Turner for violating protocol to celebrate, overshadowing the Dodgers championship and the completion of the season.
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