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Storylines: Giants a possible match for Murphy?

Storylines: Giants a possible match for Murphy?
David Murphy (Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images)
December 21, 2014
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Indians News:

  • Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer noted in his column on Saturday that the Indians have a surplus of outfielders and that David Murphy could be traded. While this is nothing new, reports on Saturday surfaced that the Giants have a tight budget to make any more moves and they are looking for a left fielder. While this is just speculation at this point, perhaps they could be a match with the Indians for Murphy.
  • The Indians signed left-handed reliever Scott Downs to a minor league contract with an invite to Major League spring training on Saturday. The 38-year old reportedly can earn $800,000 if he makes the Major League roster out of spring training.
  • Right-handed reliever Bryan Price has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Columbus. He has been designated for assignment a week ago this past Monday after the Indians acquired Brandon Moss from the Athletics. Price is under the Indians control as a non-roster player for all of 2015.

Other News and Notes:

  • Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang looks like he is heading to the states and to Major League Baseball. Reports on Saturday said that his Korean team has accepted a bid from an unknown team. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation says that the Nationals and Phillies may be frontrunners to sign him.
  • Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News notes that the Rangers are one of several teams with interest in pitcher Brandon Beachy.
  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick notes that the Phillies could be a player for infielder Asdrubal Cabrera.
  • After being claimed a few weeks ago the Pirates have released pitcher Josh Lindblom. He reportedly will play overseas in Korea next season.
  • The Rangers have released pitcher Ben Rowen.
  • The Nationals have signed first baseman/outfielder Mark Minicozzi to a minor league deal.

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User Comments

alton
December 23, 2014 - 9:41 PM EST
@Daingean I see where your coming from but as of now we do still have Ryan Raburn as a member of the roster, even if we move Murphy, who would be the fourth outfielder (for lack of a better role). I can understand if you want to eat the salary and replace Rayburn but I might not be mad rolling the dice with him and examining our outfield depth at AAA if he struggles into the season. I wouldn't mind bringing in a Jonny Gomes type (any OF that kills lefties), I really think Rayburn can bounce back tho.

Also I don't think anybody really "needs" a day off from DH. If these guys remain healthy, a HUGE if granted, they should play between 140-150 games. I'm curious on what we can get out of Ramsey on the AAA front and maybe Sands is the fourth outfielder if Rayburn burns out?? It's def a valid question.
Daingean
December 23, 2014 - 7:18 AM EST
@Alton

If Swisher backs up the OF, that still leaves an opening at DH. My guess on days off for Moss that Murphy will be in RF, when Swish needs a day off that Moss is DH and Murphy in RF, then when Bourn has a day off that Brantley goes to CF and Murphy mans LF. That still puts the 4th OF (in this case Murphy) at about 400 plate appearances. If any of those guys gets a DL vacation then Murphy will be the every day for a few weeks. I just see the 4th OF being only slightly less important than any of the 8 starting fielders on this team. Whoever it is will see plenty of playing time.
alton
December 22, 2014 - 10:28 PM EST
@Daingean Isn't Swisher the fourth outfielder?? Don't forget about Michael Brantley. Should be LF Brantley, CF Bourn, RF Moss. Swisher DH/Backup 1st and RF/LF. I'm assuming Brantley would backup CF.
Matthew
December 22, 2014 - 1:23 PM EST
I'm still holding out hope that the Tribe had the high bid on Kodos.
Walter
December 22, 2014 - 1:20 PM EST
The Kang watch is over. It's the Pirates.
Daingean
December 22, 2014 - 10:07 AM EST
If the Indians want to be a contender, they will need an adequate 4th outfielder. With Moss, Swither and Bourn all spending time on the DL or coming off surgery, I see the 4th OF getting 400+ plate appearances in 2015 (I think Bourn's hammy issues are not behind him). With that said, I'd prefer that 4th OF be a RH hitter to help balance out the lineup. Anyway, right now I keep Murphy until that RH 4th OF is found or trade Murphy for that RH OF.
Homer
December 22, 2014 - 6:45 AM EST
Alton,

I agree there are concerns with Kang, but for that matter there are concerns with signing, drafting or acquiring any player at any position.

(Perhaps) Kang is motivated to come to MLB with eyes on a larger prize ($) and better competition. IDK, so I won't try to speak for him, but he wants to play here. We know that, and with that in mind, I think he could end up signing for less. $5M posting fee is certainly not high end on the IFA scale. I think three yrs with incentives built in might get him signed. But it doesn't matter we don't even know if the Tribe bid on him.
alton
December 21, 2014 - 10:18 PM EST
@Homer I'm skeptical on Kang, the track record of "power" hitter from the Eastern seaboard is not very good. Below average major league players go over to these Japanese and Korean leagues and rake. Somebody posted weeks ago about Eric Thames who we all should remember from Detroit, is in Korea hitting like Babe Ruth .340 32HRS 119 RBIs 1.009 OPS. Same league as Kang. I'm not going to claim to watch Korean league games so i don't know if it's the pitching or the fences but it sounds like a 27 year old SS playing what might not even be the equivalent of AAA competition.

Choo is a very good player but the circumstance was different as he came over as an amateur player and came up through the ranks of the minor leagues proving his talent at each stop. Kang is a wild card that would be getting guaranteed dollars presumably for 3+ years. I pass on that. Hideki Matsui was a great player here but he hit 50 homeruns his last season in Japan and was called Godzilla. He was in the 20 to 30 HR range per year in the major. Kang ain't no Godzilla. You might end up with Kaz Matsui, .332 batting average with 36 home runs, 87 RBI, 46 doubles, 6 triples and 33 stolen bases in Japan 2002 and .272 with 32 doubles, 2 triples, 7 home runs, 44 RBI, 65 runs, 14 stolen bases in his best MLB season (2004).

Homer
December 21, 2014 - 6:55 PM EST
Thought I'd share this tweet from Dan MyKBO ... it's from August of this yr.

https://twitter.com/MyKBO/status/504749731021484032?s=17

Basically, he says the Tribe along with other clubs scouted Kang.
Homer
December 21, 2014 - 4:13 PM EST
I preach the need for the Indians to take advantage of unique opportunities. I view landing Kang as one. His market is a bit suppressed, that is, there is some questions circling him with his bat and position. However, he offers a RH bat, and has power.

I doubt the $5M posting fee would keep the Indians from bidding IF they thought he could transition to MLB. Let me rephrase that, there was speculation the winning bid would be $15M or as little as $5M. The obvious positional concerns and question with his bat helped suppress his market.

I think the concern should be refocused to contact / contact rate. Kang's power is legit, he's got 20+hr power in the MLBif you asked me. However, I would be more concerned with the potential for a high K rate. Yet that's par for the course with a power bat.

I would project Kang as a .240-250 hitter with 20dbl / 20+hr potential and a 20-25% K rate. That's not exactly an AS, but a very serviceable player that's probably relatively cheap for the next 3-4yrs.

At the end of the day, all of this discussion is probably pointless, with Kang going to the Astros or somebody...
Homer
December 21, 2014 - 3:11 PM EST
Matthew,
The Indians have scouted him in Korea. They are always quiet with any move and if it is them that could explain the silence about who the winning bidder is/was.

Kang makes sense for the a Tribe because he's a versatile RH power hitter with positional flexibility. He has experience at about every spot on the field. As for his posting fee it's hardly restrictive, and his salary demands seem reasonable, but it's not a guarantee he will get what he wants. There is a chance he ends up a bargain.
Matthew
December 21, 2014 - 12:27 PM EST
I don't know why anyone is even talking about Kang. The Indians haven't been linked to him at all. They almost certainly didn't make a bid.
Clay
December 21, 2014 - 12:13 PM EST
@C L

Those questions are why the Indians probably didn't put forth an aggressive bid, if they even made a bid.
C L Who
December 21, 2014 - 12:08 PM EST
With Lindor on the near horizon, how does SS Kang fit in? Second base and trade Kipnis? SS and trade Lindor? Third base and trade Chisenhall?
Clay
December 21, 2014 - 11:48 AM EST
KAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNGGGGGGG!!!!!

Sorry ;)

The intriguge is there because of the bat. It's a gamble for any team that his power translates to the majors. In a league starving for right handed hitting and right handed power it's a worthwhile gamble.

Would the Indians have an interest enough to bid 5+ million to negotiate a deal for however many millions per he wants is the real question.

You already have Lindor, Ramirez, E-Gon on the depth charts at short. Kip locked in at 2nd with Walters, JRam, and EGon.

Third base there may be an opportunity. Not sure how Kang would handle 3rd. That kind of commitment by the Indians would basically be quite telling of Chiz & Urshela going forward with the Indians.

Anyway it would be fun to see the Indians land Kang, but we'll see!
GSon
December 21, 2014 - 11:28 AM EST
@Homer.. re: Kang.. Should be breaking news later today on him.. FWIW.. If the Phillies and the Nationals are looking for a SS, then they're not bidding on Kang, either..He's not a SS.. he's a RF/LF if his talent is best used.. he's a c-IF'er if the team he goes to wants to fill a hole w/ someone that can play, but clearly will never be elite in the position..

re Murph.. First off.. it's not a surprise that anyone from the Plain Dull rag would come up with anything new.. W/R to the SF Giants as a fit.. there's a fit for sure.. Send Murph, and an SP and bring back Crick or Beede and Yoan Gregorio.. Oooops..then the "fit" Pluto is suggesting, but not saying and probably won't happen and " I AM NOT WRONG" Pluto all of a sudden.. doesn't exist.. and no retraction or comment regarding the possibility ever occurred...

Here's hoping the Kang news is good news...
Homer
December 21, 2014 - 8:42 AM EST
Re: Kang

The Giants, Twins, and Blue Jays are all eliminated too.
Homer
December 21, 2014 - 8:33 AM EST
Re: Kang,

Chris Cotillo says, basically nothing. He goes on to say that he doesn't know. It might be the Phillies, or Nationals. The Phillies don't have a SS, bc they just traded Jimmy Rollins, and the IanDesmond will be a FA after the season.

From the list of teams that have been linked to Kang only the Indians and Giants remain. The A's, Braves, Mets, Yankees, Padres, Rangers and Dodgers all reportedly did not bid.

Re: Murphy,

He's a luxury the Indians CAN afford, financially, he fits, otherwise I'm not so sure. Murphy can play all three spots in the OF so he could serve as a fourth OF, but that seems unlikely. It makes the most sense to move Murphy and his palatable contract for basically the best offer they can get.

There are multiple teams still looking for OF help. The Mariners could use a platoon partner with Justin Ruggiano in RF. The Orioles have nothing in RF. The Rangers need an OF. The Reds need a LF. The Giants could use an OF. The Braves could probably use an OF. The Cubs were also reportedly looking for an OF. Simply put....There are teams in need of an affordable OF option.

The fact is, now that Kemp and Upton have been traded - things should start to clear up. However, there are still plenty of options out there...the Dodgers could move an OF, the Red Sox, and Padres all have depth. There's plenty of speculation that Marlon Byrd will be traded, but he could be traded at the trade deadline if Amaro thinks he can get more then.

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