Murphy's experience could key Rockies' run

Club hopes proven playoff performer gets them over the hump in 2019

February 9th, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With new faces on the team, Spring Training is a time for excitement, but the Rockies had October in mind with their one big offseason signing: Daniel Murphy for two years and $24 million.
Last year's postseason run underscored the Rockies' need for a hitter with playoff experience. Colorado hit .174 in winning the National League Wild Card Game over the Cubs and the agonizing three-game sweep against the Brewers in the NL Division Series.
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Considering that the Dodgers hit all of .205 in the postseason and won a game in the World Series, bringing in a seasoned playoff hitter could give a necessary boost to the Rockies' lineup, which is full of players who have hit well in the regular season but are relatively green in the postseason.
Maybe Murphy, 34 on April 1, can be the engine. Just as important, he saw the Rockies as a team he could help.
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In 25 postseason games, Murphy is a .309 hitter with eight home runs, 19 RBIs and a .986 OPS over 113 plate appearances. His history on the big stages includes winning the Most Valuable Player Award in the 2015 National League Championship Series, when he homered four times and drove in six runs in four games against the Cubs.

"Having played in the postseason for the last four seasons, one of the main things for my family and I was to identify a ballclub that we thought had a legitimate and a real shot at winning the World Series," Murphy said, once the contract went official in December. "The Rockies came up at the top of that list when we started identifying clubs."
Murphy -- who batted .299 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs last season with the Nationals and the Cubs, after beginning the season late because of right knee surgery in October -- will move to first base full time, after playing primarily second base during his 10-season career.

Now Murphy assumes No. 9, worn with distinction by , who signed with the Yankees for the same contract Murphy got from Colorado. In the Rockies' case, it's not a straight replacement, since the club has plenty of young talent at second base but needs time for its first-base prospects to develop.
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Rockies manager Bud Black sees similar players, however.
"Some of the things we're going to miss in DJ, Daniel can pick up some of that slack," Black said. "The core of our group of Charlie [Blackmon], Nolan [Arenado], Trevor [Story], Ian [Desmond] and you can add Daniel to that, to help these younger, lesser-service-time players perform, will be beneficial."
The Rockies hope the full benefits manifest with a run to the World Series.