Texas Rangers outfielder David Murphy was a subject of some curious Twitter rumblings connected to the Cleveland Indians earlier on Tuesday.
Now, it appears there’s actually some weight behind the smoke: The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant reports, via a source, the Indians are finalizing a 2-year deal in excess of $10 million with the 32-year-old veteran.
It’s a bit of a surprising deal for the Tribe, who already have over $30 million committed to outfielders Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Ryan Raburn for 2014. Incumbent right fielder Drew Stubbs is a potential non-tender candidate, as he’s expected to garner about $3.8 million in arbitration, per MLBTradeRumors.
Murphy has averaged 130 games for the Texas Rangers over the last six seasons. During this time, he’s averaged a .272/.335/.436 line with 1.7 WAR per year. He’s been primarily a left fielder and had by far his worst season in 2013, batting just .220/.282/.374 in 142 contests. He earned $5.775 million in his final arbitration season this past year. A lefty hitter, he seems to be a good fit in a time-share with fellow veteran Raburn in right.
About 10 days ago, Indians GM Chris Antonetti spoke about the team’s offseason and listed bullpen and a “complementary bat” as key areas of need. Of course, that also includes starting pitching as both Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir are unlikely to return. That’s why it’s surprising the team splurged on another platoon outfielder as opposed to one of these other areas.
More likely than not, this spells the end of Stubbs’ tenure with the Indians. The team also had Matt Carson and others as potential backup outfield options, but they likely saw more versatility and dependability with the veteran Murphy.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.