St. Louis Cardinals: Eyeing Leftover Free Agents

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Daniel Murphy

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fairly recent reports have Daniel Murphy shacking up with the Washington Nationals, but even more recent reports show the Nats are near a deal with St. Louis Cardinals nemesis Brandon Phillips. This looks like a lesser-of-two-evils situation. It’s not.

Statistically, Phillips has a nice rebound season with the bat, nearly hitting .300 and driving in 70 runs after hitting .266 with 51 RBI in 2014. According to Baseball Prospectus, his war bubbled up to his more customary 2.6. But he’s 34, and for all the fuss about defensive value, he’s not that great. In fact, Baseball Prospectus data shows that both he and Murphy’s Fielding Runs Above Average were exactly zero. They’re both average defenders.

Murphy is four years younger than Phillips and has performed similarly at the plate while playing his home games in a bigger ballpark. I know what you’re thinking, St. Louis Cardinals fans. Those World Series errors!

Here’s the thing about that. Murphy is a baseball rat. Don’t think for a moment that he hasn’t spent his winter working on defense. He’s going to bounce back with the glove in 2016 while offering more with the bat than Phillips can at this point in his career.

Next: Chris Davis