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Indians to sign David Murphy, team finalizing two year deal

Veteran free agent outfielder to platoon in Tribe outfield

Indians to sign David Murphy, team finalizing two year deal
November 20, 2013
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CLEVELAND--The hot stove season has officially begun for the Tribe.

Late Tuesday night, sources confirmed the Indians and free agent outfielder David Murphy are finalizing a two year, $12 million deal, which includes a club option for a third year. Murphy, 32, played in 142 games this past season with the Texas Rangers, hitting .220 with 13 homers and 45 RBI. 

A career .275 hitter, the left-handed hitting Murphy has averaged at least 14 home runs and 58 RBI over the last six seasons in Texas. He posted his best offensive numbers in 2012 when he hit .301 with 16 homers and 61 RBI in 147 games with the Rangers.

Murphy is expected to platoon in the Cleveland outfield with Ryan Raburn, mainly against right handers, where he is a career .280 hitter. The Indians also like what Murphy brings defensively, committing just two errors in 2013 owning a .990 career fielding percentage. He also brings with him postseason experience, having played in the 2011 World Series and in 27 career playoff games.

Tribe manager Terry Francona and Murphy also have a history, as the outfielder played under the skipper in Boston in 2006 and 2007. With five outfielders on the active roster, right fielder Drew Stubbs may be the odd man out of the bunch as he is arbitration elgible. With the addition of Murphy, it appears more likely that the Indians may trade or non-tender Stubbs before the December 2 deadline.

The deal is pending a physical which Murphy will take in Cleveland on Thursday, though it is not yet official from the team.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at

User Comments

November 21, 2013 - 11:32 AM EST
One thing to note....Murhpy's BABIP in 2012 was .333, not .304. His actual batting average was .304.

So he was a bit on the "lucky" side in 2012. That said, .333 isn't that crazy when your career mark is .302. Even if Murphy only as a season like his 2010 year, still worth $6-7M a year and a solid add.
November 21, 2013 - 12:32 AM EST
Its a good signing but on his own he is not that much better Stubbs who brings even better defense and much more speed. Also younger with more upside.

The signing is good because it gives us options. It gives up depth and gives Tito plenty of talent to form a starting 9. If a deal for a BP arm opens up great. If not no reason to make moves just to give the blogs something to write about.
Rich S. (different Rich)
November 20, 2013 - 3:40 PM EST
Love it. It adds to the Indians depth and gives them plenty of options in the trade market. It seems that every off-season the Indians are one of the first teams to strike in free agency or trade. I was expecting a move by them. It will be interesting to see how they follow up on this.
November 20, 2013 - 3:38 PM EST
"CA turned Esmil Rogers into Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes, maybe he can turn Stubbs into a similar arm for he bullpen."

If he can get a relief pitcher with an arm like Gomes, I'm down with that.

Tony, great point on the BABIP. It looks like he was ridiculously lucky two years ago and just as ridiculously unlucky last year, resulting in an 84 point drop in BA. Usually that happens the year a player joins the Tribe, not the year before.

I could see his BABIP returning to normal along with his BA and OPS next year.
November 20, 2013 - 9:34 AM EST
Hearing it's 2 yrs $12 M w/ an option. Good signing, a platoon role for Murphy should suit him well. I'd expect the Tribe to shop Stubbs, but this move does provide the Tribe with a number of options...Bourn or Brantley could be had in the right deal for pitching. CA turned Esmil Rogers into Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes, maybe he can turn Stubbs into a similar arm for he bullpen. Overall, I like the move, I'd like to see the club add a veteran pen arm like Mujica and Veras and retain Scott Kazmir.
November 20, 2013 - 8:37 AM EST
Murhpy is a very good bounce back candidate. He just hit .304/.380/.479 in 2012 and didn't have an insanely high BABIP in the process (.304) as it was right where it was supposed to be. This year he hit only .220/.282/.374 but also had an insanely low BABIP at .227.....that's crazy. If he stays healthy, that should rebound and his overall numbers rebound as well.
November 20, 2013 - 8:13 AM EST
Actually, Dellucci hit .783 and .880 in his two years in Texas, then .899 in Philly before signing with the Tribe, where he averaged under .700 over the next three years. He was a little older, though. He was 33-35 when he played in Cleveland. Murphy just turned 32.

Still, a nearly 60 point drop from his career batting average last year at age 31 is a little scary. Hope he doesn't pull a Mark Reynolds or a Dave Dellucci on us.
November 20, 2013 - 8:06 AM EST
I'm not that thrilled. Texas is a hitter's park and Murphy's OPS over the last three years is .815 at home and .690 on the road. By the way, didn't we sign Delucci from the Rangers?

Murphy definitely rakes at Progressive, though. He has a career .469/1.309 line here, which is insane. But now that he's here he won't have the Tribe's staff to hit against.

He just turned 32 and his best days may well be behind him, if last year was any indication.
November 20, 2013 - 7:59 AM EST
Excellent platoon signing.

Trading players of Stubbs ilk seems to be Antonetti's specialty. Let's see if he can pull off a bullpen arm with some years of control left and maybe some sort of blocked semi-prospect (ala Yan Gomes last year).
November 20, 2013 - 7:59 AM EST
Another move for low price low talent player to platoon!!! We need a big bat not another part time player!!! What about Corey Hart? Any talk there?
November 20, 2013 - 7:55 AM EST

You and I were just talking about him on twitter earlier in the day too. I think he's a very solid signing. I need to see what else they do this offseason though. IMO, they need a closer, reliable lefty(Manny Parra) and to resign Kazmir.

Alot of these FA's are going to realize that they're going to have to take smaller deals because the money just isn't there for the vast majority of these teams out side of NYY, LAA and a couple of others.

I think the Indians are banking on Aguiliar giving them some production this season too. I have no problem with that either. I'm all for building up and using the farm system to supplement the team
November 20, 2013 - 12:32 AM EST
Was just talking about this earlier on Tuesday about how Murphy would be a good platoon partner with Raburn. This is a solid signing, although my only beef is going to two years for him - but probably the price of doing business. With Raburn signed for the same length of time, the Raburn-Murphy platoon may be the solution in RF for the next two years. Let's hope it works out better than Jason Micheals and David Dellucci did. Also, this spells the end for Stubbs. The Indians will probably trade him at some point this offseason. They know teams are interested in him, so if he is not dealt by 12/2 then I could see them still tendering him a contract and trading him later. Maybe they get a pen arm in exchange for him.
November 20, 2013 - 12:30 AM EST
Excellent buy-low signing. If Murphy can return to 2011 and 2012 form, he'll be a really good platoon partner for Rayburn, and a big improvement over Stubbs. Btw, historically the guy rakes at Progressive.
November 20, 2013 - 12:27 AM EST
Well, Murphy makes more sense than Stubbs and they're not paying much more than what they'd pay Stubbs, not a bad signing. Now if they'd just sign Kazmir or Colon I would be happy.
November 20, 2013 - 12:15 AM EST
Solid solid signing. Getting him at good value too, IMHO. Not sure what went into his season last year, where he came in with numbers far far below his norm, but this is the perfect platoon lefty we need for our outfield.

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