Some good chatter over at the Flushing University message boards, where the topic has turned to Daniel Murphy's readiness for taking over the second base job in 2009. If you read the column (go back and read it now if you haven't), you will see that I don't think he's ready yet.
It's not that I don't think Murphy can hit and that he's not a player with a future. It's that I don't think he's ready to be productive major league regular. He's been great for 85 at-bats, but he hadn't played above High-A ball before this season. He still has no positon, learning LF on the fly even as his future may be at 2B.
I say put him in Triple-A next year, where he can rake a little and spend time getting familiar with second base. By August 1, he may be ready to take the position over full time, or serve as a useful utility player for the rest of the season. Murphy's true ETA is probably 2010.
Not everyone agrees, of course. Murphy has shown an ability to hit major league pitching this year and his approach is professional. He's getting good at-bats even when he's not stroking line drives and looks like the kind of hitter who can succeed at the major level. Why not give him a chance to see what he can do over a full season?
I gave my opinion on that in the column, but if Murphy is given the second base job and finds himself batting .230/.300/.340 with 10 errors on May 15, what then? Send him down to Triple-A and get him the experience he probably needed in the first place, or continue to suffer with an inadequate 2B?
The Indians did that with Asdrubal Cabrera this season - gave him the starting second baseman's job even though he wasn't ready to be a starter. By mid-June he was back in Buffalo, getting his head on straight. Cabrera started hitting again, returned to the Indians a month later and has put up a .304/.389/.439 line since. Perhaps if he had been at Buffalo in the first place, the Indians would've gotten a full season's worth of such production from Cabrera.