Murphy is a Better Fit than Zobrist
Zobrist hit .276/.359/.450 last year. For his career, he’s a .265/.355/.431 hitter. He wasn’t good at second last year. His UZR was a -6.7. However, last year was a blip. He’s averaged a 3.3 UZR, which would make him slightly above average at the position. Last year, his WAR was 1.9. His career WAR is 38.5.
For his part, Murphy hit .281/.322/.449 last year, and he’s hit .288/.331/.424 for his career. His UZR at second last year was -1.3, his best ever at second (for a full season). His average UZR is -4, which means he’s a bad fielder. Last year, his WAR was 1.4, and his career WAR is 12.5.
By any measure, Zobrist is a better player than Murphy. Zobrist has more versatility than Murphy as he can play some short and can play the OF. So why would I rather pay Murphy $48 million over four years than pay Zobrist $42 million over three years? Murphy is five years younger and in the prime of his career.The Murphy/Zobrist decision is an examination of paying players for past over future performance.
Zobrist is old and in decline. Here’s his WAR over the last five years:
- 2011 – 8.7
- 2012 – 5.7
- 2013 – 5.0
- 2014 – 4.9
- 2015 – 1.9
Here’s his UZR at second base the last five years:
- 2011 – 6.6
- 2012 – (3.1)
- 2013 – 10.0
- 2014 – 4.7
- 2015 – (6.7)
If you want to tell me Zobrist will be better than Murphy next year, I can’t argue. But what about 2017? What about 2018? With all the teams interested, he could get a four year contract. Do you think a 40 year old Zobrist will be better than a 35 year old Murphy?
Just remember the Mets signed a 35 year old Michael Cuddyer last year, and now they have a $12.5 million bench player. This is the danger you face when you sign Zobrist.
Murphy is the safer bet going forward.