Dusty Baker talked about the possibility of Washington Nationals’ second baseman Daniel Murphy winning the NL MVP award in late July.
Baker told reporters he thought the 31-year-old infielder, who signed a 3-year/$37.5M free agent deal with the Nats last winter, was well on his way to putting himself in the running for MVP.
"I think about it for all my players,” Baker said. “I probably think about it more than they think about it. They can't be thinking about that right now.
“They just think about what they have to do on a daily basis, one at bat at a time, but I think about it. Especially for a guy that has had -- I've had a number of MVPs. It's easy to have a number of MVPs when you have Barry Bonds. That takes care of a number by itself. And I had Jeff Kent and I had Joey Votto. And I've had batting champions with D. Lee. I've had 20-game winners. I haven't had a Cy Young yet, which I hope to. Had one of my players on the team who got Fireman of the Year, I've had Gold Gloves, I've had Silver [Sluggers]. And so if there's an accomplishment out there, why not wish it on your players. Just like Jeff Kent, I was hoping that his MVP might project him into the Hall of Fame and it still might. You don't know what the future [holds] for these guys. It's on my mind, big time, and I think Daniel Murphy, not because he's on my team, he's the MVP at this point in time, but Daniel's not like that, he wants to win and then all that other stuff will happen later."
Murphy finished his first season with the Nationals with a .347/.390/.595 line, career highs in doubles (47), triples (5) and home runs (25) over 142 games and 582 plate appearances. He finished the season at a career-best 5.5 fWAR.
Murphy’s .347 AVG was NL’s second-best, behind only the Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu (.348), he was 7th in OBP, was 1st in slugging percentage, second in wRC+ (at 156, behind only the Reds’ Joey Votto, 158), and was 6th amongst NL hitters in fWAR.
When you slash .347/.390/.595 with 47 2B, 25 HR and 104 RBI, you get to be a finalist for the NL MVP. True story. pic.twitter.com/5a10xnu0GN— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) November 7, 2016
Murphy, the Dodgers’ Corey Seager, who is also up for consideration for Rookie of the Year in the NL, and the Cubs’ Kris Bryant are the three finalists for the 2016 NL MVP.