Amid all the chaos inspired by the abrupt end of Dusty Baker’s tenure as manager, the Washington Nationals announced that second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent surgery on his right knee Friday. They said it was successful.
The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it.
For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.
But the revelation does make sense in the wake of a season when Murphy missed a few games at a time, here and there, for unspecified leg soreness. Sometimes, Baker would mention his hamstring. Most times, Murphy would avoid mentioning anything about the injury at all. But he looked a step slow and clunkier than before. Murphy hit .322 with a .928 OPS, numbers that did not match his 2016 onslaught but were not so far off as to suggest injury trouble, either. He never landed on the disabled list. He played 144 games.
The 32-year-old is entering the final year of a three-year deal worth $37.5 million, one of a few key Nationals entering their last year of team control. Bryce Harper is another. But Murphy’s next contract likely depends more on this season than Harper’s would, as his two seasons of elite productivity followed a career of merely solid production, and a knee injury will cast doubt on his longevity.
Regardless, Murphy will now begin rehabbing the knee, according to the team, and one of the Nationals’ biggest stars will enter a suddenly eventful offseason with newfound uncertainty.
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