Indians Sign David Murphy
The Cleveland Indians have signed outfielder David Murphy. Why should a Mets fan care?
Several reasons. First, that’s another outfielder off the market, and the Mets are in the market for outfielders. Was Murphy a target of Sandy Alderson? We likely won’t ever know, but it doesn’t matter. The signing means there’s one less outfielder available, ergo, the ones remaining may have more bargaining power than they had a day ago — if you believe that less of a supply creates more of a demand. At the same time, it could be argued that the Indians are no longer in the market for an outfielder, so it’s a wash — it all depends on your perspective.
But also to be considered is the contract Murphy received: two years, $12M, according to most reports. That’s a considerable amount of money and years for a fourth outfielder coming off of his worst year as a big leaguer. If it was last winter, after Murphy hit .304 with a .380 OBP and .859 OPS, I could see that as a fair contract — perhaps, even, a bargain. But Murphy followed up 2012 by hitting .220 with a .282 OBP and .656 OPS in 2013 — in his age 31 season. Was the sudden drop in performance due to something fixable, such as an injury? Or was it Robin Ventura syndrome — i.e., overnight loss of bat speed? Regardless of what it was, this signing — and that of Marlon Byrd last week — has set the market for fourth outfielders. But, the Mets might not want to offer that much for a starting outfielder. Quite a conundrum.
Another thing the Murphy signing does is increase the likelihood that Drew Stubbs is not in Cleveland next year. The 29-year-old speedster had a rough 2013 season — even rougher than Murphy’s — and almost certainly will be either traded or non-tendered by the Indians. Does that mean he could land in Flushing? Possibly. On the positive side, he can run like the wind, and once hit over 20 homers. On the negative side, he strikes out a ton and his performance has steadily decreased since his breakout 2010 season.
What say you? Considering the contracts given to platoon-type OFs such as Byrd and Murphy, what will the Mets have to pay for a starter? Will they bother? Will they go after a similarly skilled fourth outfielder on the free agent market, and if so, will they be willing to spend upward of $6M per year? Should they? Answer in the comments.