Who Wants Matt Murton?

26 year-old Cubs outfielder Matt Murton is very much available now that they’ve signed Reed Johnson.  PECOTA gives Murton a .295/.359/.462 projection for ’08; ZiPS says .289/.360/.465.  Here are the league averages from 2007:

AL left fielder: .275/.335/.426
NL left fielder: .278/.358/.478

AL right fielder: .288/.359/.465
NL right fielder: .275/.344/.442

These numbers are presented in the form of batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage.  You can see that Murton is comfortably in the league average offensive range for a corner outfielder.  He’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season.  Let’s look at some trade possibilities.  (As for what the Cubs would want in return – I’ll guess a lefty reliever or just a prospect or two).

  • Rays – DRays Bay suggests Murton could help in right field, not a bad idea.
  • Padres – The Justin Huber acquisition makes this less likely.
  • Rangers – They rejected a Murton for Marlon Byrd proposal, and now the Cubs don’t need Byrd.
  • Orioles – He was connected to them until they acquired Luke Scott and Adam Jones to fill out their outfield.
  • Red Sox – The Cubs no longer have a need for Coco Crisp, even if the Sox had mild interest in re-acquiring The Big Murt.  Murton wouldn’t start in Boston anyway.  Still, Buster Olney says there’s still some chatter that the Red Sox will go after him.
  • Athletics – Some folks think Billy Beane will pluck Murton simply because he’s underrated.  The A’s don’t seem to have any kind of opening for him.
  • Braves – Murton doesn’t project as much of an upgrade over Matt Diaz.
  • Mets – Could make sense for a team thinking about running Fernando Tatis out in left.  Longer-term, Murton could be an oft-used fourth outfielder, spelling Moises Alou and Ryan Church.
  • Giants – Would be a nice low-pressure place to see what Murton can do, but they’re already loaded with outfielders.
  • What are your thoughts on a good fit for Murton?

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