Washington Nationals: 5 x-factors for Daniel Murphy in 2018

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a two-run double against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth innin gin game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a two-run double against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth innin gin game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) /
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Contract year distractions

Every major league season is a grind, but contract years are a different beast. The player has to answer questions about their future, even though not even they are sure of what will happen. They may also feel additional pressure to perform, in order to maximize their value.

Murphy’s contract year may fly under the radar because he shares it with Bryce Harper, but it could still make a difference.

Fortunately for the Nats, Murphy will handle it as well as possible. He is a true professional and veteran leader, so there should not be any concern about his demeanor.

Murphy also has not been one to shy away from the spotlight, which will enable him to remain productive in his fateful season. Just look at his 2015 postseason performance and several walkoff hits to see how he handles pressure.

There are a few factors that could hold Murphy back a bit in 2018, such as his health, but the fact that he is in a contract year should not have any bearing on his performance. If anything, it may actually push him to have his best year yet.

Murphy’s future with the Nats is unknown, but he should produce yet another amazing season in 2018.

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