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While you were eating Christmas turkey, unwrapping vintage baseball cards, or perhaps just seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the fifth time, Daniel Murphy spent the holidays rolling in a $37.5M, three-year contract with the Nationals. As of Dec. 25, the deal is still pending a physical and awaiting team confirmation, but that hasn’t stopped either fan base from speculating on the 30-year-old second baseman’s arrival.
Murphy was one of the most valuable position players on the Mets in 2015, contributing a .281/.322/.449 batting line and a career-best 14 home runs to boot. Murphy’s acquisition couldn’t come at a better time for the Nationals, whose middle infield was gutted with the loss of Ian Desmond and Yunel Escobar this offseason. Reds infielder Brandon Phillips was expected to sign with the Nationals several weeks ago, but the deal fell through at the last minute. Not only will the Nationals benefit from an anchor at second base, but they’ll put Murphy’s left-handed bat to good use in a predominantly right-handed lineup.
As for the rest of the Nationals’ wish list this holiday season, it’s safe to say that they’ve crossed off veteran infielder Howie Kendrick. Although Kendrick would provide a solid defensive upgrade at second base, he is past his prime and his right-handed bat would only weigh down an already-imbalanced lineup. The Nationals have also been linked to southpaws Wei-Yin Chen and Scott Kazmir, both of whom come with hefty price tags. Another lefty bat or two wouldn’t be amiss, assuming Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy require any help shouldering that side of the plate. Of course, the Nats could always go the easy route and spring for Bartolo Colon t-shirts instead.
- The Nationals aren’t the only ones talking to Wei-Yin Chen and Scott Kazmir this winter.
- The Blue Jays’ bullpen is in sore need of restructuring. How can John Gibbons take it from mediocre to outstanding in 2016?
- The White Sox are going to run out of steam quickly if they can’t get their home run totals up from 2015.
- What’s on the Phillies’ wish list this year? For starters, a well-orchestrated rebuild and some good poetry.
- The Yankees, meanwhile, are hoping for third base depth and more Greg Bird.
- The Diamondbacks could stand to spend a few more dollars if they want to fully commit to contending next season. Here’s how they can add significant depth without blowing big bucks.
- This is your annual reminder to slow down and enjoy the offseason, especially if your team is fresh off of a championship year.
- Doug Fister might be just the affordable, low-risk free agent starter the Marlins are looking for.
- Remember when Frank Thomas starred in his own 1990s video game?
- In case you forgot to get the Blue Jays anything for the holidays, here are some ideas. (Be sure to stock up on plenty of bat flips and save opportunities.)