Weighing the pros and cons of the David Murphy signing
David Murphy’s signing was some of the biggest news so far during the baseball offseason. The question is was this a good move for the Indians and what does it mean for the Indians plans this offseason.
The positives in adding Murphy is that at $6 million a year he could be a bargain as a possible starter in right field for the Indians. He is coming off a down year where his numbers were down across the board, but his BABIP was .227 last year which shows he was incredibly unlucky. His average BABIP is .302, which is with the down year added in. He had over a hundred point drop in BABIP from 2012 to 2013, so this makes him a prime bounce back candidate.
Murphy is going to rebound; it is only a matter of how much.
Murphy has shown good doubles power and won’t rack up the strikeouts like other guys in the Indians lineup. He should have about a 100 less strikeouts than some of the free swingers like Jason Kipnis or Michael Bourn. His OPS+ for his career (104) is slightly above average as is his wRC+ (103). Murphy is not a big name, but he is an above average regular for his career, who might put up even better numbers if the Indians use him in a platoon with Raburn.
Also, when you look at the market you have to like this deal more.
Murphy is 32 years old and will cost $12 million over two years with a long track record of success as a solid starter in the league. David DeJesus is 33 years old and is at best a marginal starter with less success than Murphy and he got $10.5 million over two years. Then there is Marlon Byrd who got $16 million over two years even though he is 35 years old and just a year ago looked like his baseball career was done.
All of that being said, there are some negatives and risks with signing Murphy. He has been a slightly below average defender during his career according to metrics. I have seen a few people talk about him as an above average defender, but the numbers say he is basically average to slightly below average.
Also, Murphy is coming off the worst year of his career and just turned 32 years old. The issue is even bigger when you realize that he had the two worst years of his career over the last three years. He did have a career year in between but that was at age 30 which means that it might have been the final high note before decline.
Speaking of decline, Murphy for his career has been a righty killer; then this year he couldn’t touch them. I am not sure why, maybe it was an injury or something else but it scares me that his ability to torch righties disappeared. For his entire career counting his tough year this season his OPS against righties is .807, this year it was .639. The Indians are bringing him in to platoon and hit righties, and if he can’t do that then the Indians just wasted $12 million and a roster spot over the next two years.
The other major concern I have with Murphy is his home and away splits. I know people brought up how well he hit at Progressive Field but that sample size is too small to matter. Murphy’s on-base percentage is only about ten points lower on the road versus at home, but the bigger issue is that his slugging percentage is about 70 points lower which is a big hit - pun intended. There is no doubt his power numbers benefited a lot from playing in Texas. He was typically about a 28 doubles, 13 home run guy. Outside of Texas I would think he might see a 20% decline in his power numbers.
My finally conclusion is that the Indians are getting an average player, but at only $6 million a year an average player would be a steal. I like the signing, but realize there is a chance this could blow up in their face. It is not a huge move, but if it is just the first of many, then I like it.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at email@example.com
Bud grant and company are awful at their jobs
Rayburn was left for dead after he failed to move into a full-time productive gig - came here and had a career year and become a big part of our success.
There is every reason to expect Murphy to do the same.
I really don't think it's realistic at all to trade Bourn, unless it's part of some larger package. You either pay his salary and get a prospect or it's a pure salary dump. The team is worse with Stubbs in CF than Bourn, so why would you want to do either? If there were outfield prospects knocking on the door it would be different, but it's the one position where there's not really much upside in-house.
Get any other left-handed hitter at this point. I am a proud one-noter. Murphy is a minor piece. Little pitching is available, need to go hitting.