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Daniel Murphy to sign with Nationals

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Daniel Murphy has agreed to a three-year deal to join the rival Washington Nationals.

Daniel Murphy has agreed to join the Washington Nationals on a three-year deal.
Daniel Murphy has agreed to join the Washington Nationals on a three-year deal.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Daniel Murphy sweepstakes has officially ended and the winner seems to be the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have reportedly signed the 30-year-old second baseman to a three-year deal pending a physical, although the club has yet to confirm. Murphy became a free agent this offseason after rejecting the Mets’ $15.8 million one-year qualifying offer. Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reported the deal first.

Anticipating the loss of the 2015 NLCS MVP, the Mets acquired Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman, Neil Walker in exchange for Jon Niese. With the apparent departure of Ian Desmond and a trade of Yunel Escobar to the Angels, the Nationals were in desperate need of middle infield help. Earlier this month the team reportedly acquired Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, but the deal fell through as Phillips opted not to waive his no-trade clause. MLB.com’s William Ladson reported on December 23 that the Nationals had shifted their attention to trying to sign Howie Kendrick and/or Daniel Murphy, with the news surfacing today that the Nationals and Murphy had reached an agreement.

Drafted by the Mets in the in the 13th round of the 2006 amateur draft, Murphy first caught on with the Mets in 2008. The Jacksonville, Florida native had established himself as a solid hitter without an obvious defensive fit, but he finally settled in at second base. Murphy has a career batting line of .288/.331/.424 and was named an All-Star in 2014. Murphy was also statistically the hardest to strike out among major league qualifiers in 2015, striking out only once every 14.2 plate appearances. This past postseason Murphy set a major league record by hitting a home run in six straight postseason games and hitting seven home runs in total.

Since Murphy declined the Mets’ qualifying offer, the Nationals will have to forfeit their the 18th overall pick in 2016. The Mets will receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds of the draft. The acquisition of Murphy will bring a second left-handed bat to a lineup that previously only had Bryce Harper hitting from that side of the plate. Additionally, the move will give top prospects Trea Turner and Wilmer Difo more time to develop in the minor leagues. Turner and Difo were respectively ranked as the organization’s number two and number four prospects coming into the 2015 season.