David Murphy Rumors

AL Central Notes: Dombrowski, Tribe, Samardzija

Daniel Norris‘ career as a Tiger got off a fantastic start today as the newly-acquired left-hander held the Orioles to one run in 7 1/3 innings work.  Norris allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five to earn the victory.  Here’s more from around the AL Central…

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is confident that last week’s trades have replenished the club’s reserves of young talent, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.  “We changed the outlook of our organization at the upper levels, which we needed to do,” Dombrowski said of the trades as a whole. “We have traded so many guys in the past. Ideally, you don’t want to be in this position. But based on where we were, we think this gives us an influx of guys who can help us going into next year. It puts us in a good spot going into next year.
  • The Indiansacquisition of pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss was the best trade deadline deal of any team over the last week, Fangraphs’ David Laurila opines.  Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter) is similarly effusive about the deal for the Tribe, calling it “a flat out heist for” Cleveland.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addresses some moves that the Indians made and didn’t make at the deadline as part of a reader mailbag.  Of note, Hoynes says the Tribe didn’t plan to pick up David Murphy‘s contract option for 2016 and that the Carlos Carrasco trade talks “were window shopping for future reference” rather than a concerted effort to trade the right-hander.
  • Jeff Samardzija remained focused on pitching while trade rumors swirled around him, so the righty said not much has changed for him in remaining with the White Sox, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes.  Samardzija is excited about Chicago’s recent play and hopes they can keep building towards a late-season playoff push.

Angels Acquire David Murphy From Indians

The Angels announced that they’ve acquired outfielder David Murphy from the Indians in exchange for infield prospect Eric Stamets. Initial news of the swap came just minutes before the Angels announced the acquisition of fellow lefty-swinging outfielder David DeJesus.

David  Murphy

Murphy, 33, is making $6MM this season and has a $500K buyout on his $7MM 2016 team option. He has slashed .296/.344/.437 with five homers in 229 plate appearances this season for the Indians, serving primarily as a platoon option in the corner outfield.

The Angels already have lefty hitters (Matt Joyce and Kole Calhoun) in the outfield corners, although Joyce has struggled this season. It stands to reason, then, that Murphy and DeJesus will provide the Angels with a pair of lefty bats to deploy in left field and at DH. Either would make a fine platoon partner for the recently acquired Shane Victorino, and they could both find themselves in the lineup versus tough righties, perhaps at the expense of young first baseman/designated hitter C.J. Cron.  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported on Monday that Murphy was on the Halos’ radar.

When faced with the possibility that he could lose playing time back in January, Murphy said that he would be open to a trade.  Many months later, Murphy has been moved out of Cleveland, though his playing time didn’t dip much in 2015.

Stamets, a 23-year-old shorstop, was a sixth-round pick of the Halos in 2012. In Double-A this year, the defensive-minded Stamets has hit .248/.306/.360 with three homers in 241 plate appearances. The youngster has also swiped five bases.

Baseball America ranked Stamets as the No. 23 prospect in the Angels’ system following the 2014 season. “Stamets would be one of the top prospects in baseball if he could hit as well as he plays defense,” BA writes.

Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times first reported (via Twitter) that the Angels were about to acquire Murphy. Joel Sherman of the New York Post added that an agreement was in place (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted Stamets’ inclusion.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Outfield Market Notes: Maybin, Reddick, Mets, Angels, Parra, Gomez

Though the Braves have fielded plenty of interest in the revived Cameron Maybin, and have considered moving him, the team now feels it “would need to be blown away with an offer” to make a deal, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Contrary to an earlier report, Bowman adds, an Atlanta source vehemently denied the suggestion that Maybin had been dangled in an earlier effort to add Angel Pagan of the Giants. Maybin, 28, has been one of the game’s best turnaround stories, with his play dramatically altering perceptions of both his contract and the deal that brought him to Atlanta (which was already widely viewed as a Braves win).

Here’s more on the still-developing outfield market, which just saw one move with Shane Victorino heading to the Angels:

  • The Athletics seem unlikely to move outfielder Josh Reddick, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. In his comments after today’s Tyler Clippard trade, GM Billy Beane said that his club is not presently working on deals involving players who are under future control.
  • Despite a trio of acquisitions already completed, the Mets are still looking at a handful of outfield options, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets. New York has, of course, just brought up top prospect Michael Conforto with Michael Cuddyer on the DL, but the team also designated John Mayberry Jr. and could use another quality option.
  • A source also tells Marc Carig of Newsday that the Mets are still shopping for outfield bats. Carig notes that the team could wait for asking prices to drop on deadline day.
  • The Angels are also still looking at left-handed hitting outfielders after adding Victorino, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that Jay Bruce (Reds), David Murphy (Indians), and Ben Revere (Phillies) are all still on their radar.
  • Gerardo Parra of the Brewers is also a player that the Angels are interested in, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Twitter). Heyman breaks down his market, citing the Mets and Orioles as prime suitors (along with the Halos) for the left-handed hitter. There’s also a classic mystery team involved, per the report.
  • Heyman adds that some in the Brewers organization do not believe that Carlos Gomez will end up being dealt. Milwaukee is somewhat hesitant to move an affordable, in-prime player with control remaining.
  • Be sure to check out MLBTR’s Trade Market series for all the most likely outfield trade pieces. We’ve covered both center field candidates as well as corner options.


Rosenthal On Gomez, Rangers, Choo, Gyorko

The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

  • Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez is attracting interest from contenders and non-contenders alike.  The Rangers and Indians have reached out, while the Giants and Astros find Gomez appealing.  Rosenthal notes that the Giants may not have the prospects required, while the Astros “appear more focused on bullpen help.”  Gomez is under contract next year for just $9MM, after which he’ll reach free agency as a 30-year-old.  In a June 1st poll, 80% of MLBTR readers said the Brewers should trade Gomez this summer.  He would appeal to many teams beyond the four listed by Rosenthal.
  • The Rangers are “acting aggressively as both buyers and sellers,” according to Rosenthal.  That explains the interest in Gomez and Cole Hamels and their willingness to listen on pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Wandy Rodriguez, who will be free agents after the season.  I should note that Colby Lewis will also be a free agent after the season, but he’s chosen to stay with Texas multiple times when given the opportunity to shop around.  On Friday, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had quotes from Rangers GM Jon Daniels about the team’s deadline stance.
  • Rosenthal says the Indians are similarly looking at both additions and subtractions this week, “exploring deals for players who could fit for next season and beyond while listening to proposals for their starting pitchers and corner players such as David Murphy and Ryan Raburn.”  Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca wrote yesterday that the Indians came close to trading pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the Blue Jays, but the deal fell apart for unknown reasons and is no longer on the table.
  • The Rangers are expected to trade Shin-Soo Choo this offseason, Rosenthal writes.  I imagine that may require some kind of bad contract swap, as Choo recently turned 33, can block deals to ten teams, and is owed $102MM from 2016-20.
  • The Padres are shopping second baseman Jedd Gyorko hard, tweets Rosenthal.  The 26-year-old signed an extension under the previous Padres regime, and at the deadline he’ll be owed more than $33MM through 2019.  MLBTR’s Steve Adams wrote about Gyorko and all the other second base trade candidates last week.  Rosenthal suggests the Padres could rid themselves of Gyorko’s contract by attaching him to a more desirable player, pitcher Tyson Ross for example.  The Braves employed this tactic in April, pairing Melvin Upton with Craig Kimbrel.

Angels Interested In David Murphy

The Angels are among the teams interested in Indians corner outfielder David Murphy, Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports report (on Twitter). The lefty-hitting Murphy is in the midst of a solid season in Cleveland in which he’s batted .299/.347/.443 in 224 plate appearances. The 33-year-old is making $6MM this season and has a $500K buyout on his $7MM 2016 team option.

The Angels already have lefty hitters (Matt Joyce and Kole Calhoun) in the outfield corners, although Joyce has struggled this season, and Murphy could also help righty C.J. Cron (who has a .679 OPS this season and has done most of his damage against lefties) at DH. Last week, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Indians would like to receive younger hitters in return for Murphy or Ryan Raburn.


Mets Notes: Cuddyer, Conforto, Trade Targets

The Mets are currently squared off with the Nationals in a key mid-season match-up. Despite entering the series just two games back in the division, New York faces a lot of scrutiny due to its scuffling offense.

Here’s the latest:

  • Michael Cuddyer‘s knee problems are an increasing concern for the Mets, as Marc Carig of Newsday reports. If one final effort at managing the pain proves unsuccessful, Cuddyer will likely hit the DL. An extended absence from the club’s major offseason acquisition would only increase the team’s already pressing need for offense.
  • Of course, any missed time from Cuddyer will also increase calls for the team to promote well-regarded outfield prospect Michael Conforto. But as Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports, that move remains unlikely. There is at least some consideration being given to a call-up, but the club does not believe that the second-year professional is the answer it is looking for right now. As Mike Puma of the New York Post explains on Twitter, the lack of viable alternatives at the Triple-A level means it is necessary to entertain the thought if Cuddyer has to go on the DL.
  • All said, it seems as if GM Sandy Alderson is looking more for complimentary pieces than “one transformational bat,” according to Carig (Twitter links). That is reflected, to some extent, in the identity of the young players that internal and external executives see as being viable trade pieces. Per Carig, New York has little stomach for moving its most prized pre-MLB position talent (Conforto and shortstop Amed Rosario), but might be willing to deal well-regarded youngsters (and top-ten MLB.com organizational prospects) Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, Jhoan Urena, and Matt Reynolds (among others).
  • There are any number of outfielders that could be available to the Mets, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that one name to consider is Ryan Raburn of the Indians. Per Sherman, Cleveland is interested in picking up younger bats if it moves Raburn and/or fellow part-time Indians outfielder David Murphy. While the Mets prefer the idea of adding a Ben Zobrist-type super-utility player or a left-handed-hitting player capable of manning center — Sherman mentions Gerardo Parra — Raburn may be a more practicable target given his manageable salary and likely reasonable prospect cost.

Trade Market Notes: Papelbon, Indians, Cotts, Maybin

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon said today that he would be surprised and disappointed if he is not traded this summer, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. The veteran righty indicated that he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause to play for any contender — provided, that is, that he’d work in a closing capacity. “I think [the front office] knows where I’m at,” he said. “I’ve always been straightforward that I want to go play for a contender and I’m not going to shy away from it. I feel like that’s my right and my prerogative to have that opportunity and, you know, it’s in their hands. The ball’s in their court. I guess that’s kind of it.” While Papelbon’s preferences will play a significant role in his market, he’s done nothing but increase his trade value through his on-field performance this year. Entering today’s action, the 34-year-old owns a 1.65 ERA with 9.4 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 — and a career-best 50.6% groundball rate — on the season.

  • The Indians are still alive for a post-season berth even though the club has underperformed expectations, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the club will probably stand pat for the most part at the trade deadline. Cleveland is not terribly interested in dealing away Carlos Santana, but could consider moving David Murphy or Ryan Raburn, both of whom have been quite productive this year and can be controlled through fairly reasonable 2016 options. In the event that the Indians decide to add pieces, says Rosenthal, the club could target a pen arm or a bat (at an unidentified position — the left side of the infield seeming most likely).
  • The Twins and Brewers have had some preliminary trade chats, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports (Twitter links). It is not clear precisely what players were under discussion, though Berardino indicates that Milwaukee lefty Neal Cotts could hold some appeal to Minnesota.
  • Some opposing clubs believe the Braves could be interested in selling high on outfielder Cameron Maybin this summer, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. Olney had previously indicated on Twitter that Atlanta was not interested in parting with Maybin, who’s been quite a pleasant surprise since coming over as part of the salary swaps in the Craig Kimbrel deal. But he could have significant appeal to teams in need of an outfielder, particularly if the market ends up being largely devoid of bats.

Central Notes: Youkilis, Liriano, Murphy, Tigers

Recently-retired veteran Kevin Youkilis will be joining the Cubs as a special assistant, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports on Twitter. The connection will be obvious for many: Youkilis rose to prominence and made most of his impact on the field playing for former Red Sox GM and current Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.

Here’s more from the central divisions:

  • Pirates starter Francisco Liriano held talks with the Red SoxTwinsAstros, and Royals before re-signing with Pittsburgh, the lefty told Dan Zangrilli of 93.7 The Fan (Twitter links). Kansas City went as high as $36MM over three years, said Liriano, who ultimately took home $39MM from the Pirates. Interestingly, Liriano noted that he felt the qualifying offer did not significantly hinder his market.
  • If Brandon Moss and Nick Swisher prove their health this spring, outfielder David Murphy (or another roster candidate) will likely need to be dealt before breaking camp, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes. It may be hard to find a taker without eating a good bit of Murphy’s $6MM salary, should that come to pass. For now, this remains an interesting story to watch over the coming months.
  • While the Tigers do have some worrying signs in their large contracts and low-rated farm, they are not yet facing the kind of difficulties that the Phillies have found, Mike Petriello of Fangraphs writes. If nothing else, Detroit still looks to be legitimately competitive at present, and has time to prepare for a soft landing when its window does finally begin closing.

Indians Notes: Payroll, Kluber, Murphy

Indians president Mark Shapiro says the team has the flexibility to add payroll if the right opportunity presents itself, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes. “We try not to be encumbered at all by what payroll is and salaries are. Is there a way for us to creatively handle it?” says Shapiro. “[W]hat kills deals 95 percent of the time is not payroll, but player asks. Salary is not usually where it stops, but player asks.” The Indians’ only significant moves this offseason have been their acquisitions of Brandon Moss and Gavin Floyd, but it sounds like they could consider making other additions either this winter or in-season. Here are more notes from Cleveland, which hosted Tribe Fest this weekend.

  • Shapiro says the Indians plan to consider an extension for Corey Kluber in the near future, reports Bastian. “As prioritization of the calendar goes, it’s something we’ll probably look at over the next couple of months,” says Shapiro, cautioning that it’s not clear whether Kluber and the Indians will be able to agree to terms. “He has all the precursors that we would look for to enter into a multiyear agreement.” Last August, MLBTR’s Jeff Todd reviewed Kluber’s extension prospects. The Indians already control Kluber through his age-32 season, but with an extension, they could control him for even longer while keeping his arbitration-year salaries reasonable. Meanwhile, Kluber, who is still a zero-to-three player, would get long-term security.
  • With Moss’ addition and a variety of other corner outfield/DH types on the Indians’ roster, outfielder David Murphy understands that he’ll lose playing time but would not mind being traded if his plate appearances stood to be drastically cut, Bastian writes. “I’m prepared to lose playing time, but not to the point where I’m going to get 150 at-bats,” Murphy says. “If that’s the case, and that’s the best-case scenario for them and for me, I’m open to [a trade].” Murphy adds that he understands if the Indians need to wait and see whether Moss, who had hip surgery in October, and Nick Swisher, who had knee surgery in August, are healthy. Murphy, 33, hit a passable .262/.319/.385 in his first season in Cleveland in 2015, although with defense that rated as significantly below average. He has one more season on his contract, plus a $500K buyout on a $7MM option for 2016.

Indians Notes: Trades, Floyd, Bere, Cloyd

The Indians have a logjam of players who can handle right field, first base and DH, but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that the surplus doesn’t mean a trade is likely. David Murphy‘s name has come up in rumors, but team has to first determine the health status of Nick Swisher, Brandon Moss and Ryan Raburn. Swisher had surgery on both knees in August, Moss had hip surgery in October and Raburn had left knee surgery in September in addition to dealing with a sore wrist for much of the season. Hoynes provides a health update on each player, and he also spoke with Francona, who sounded happy to have a number of options on his hands: “You walk that fine line. You have guys who expect playing time … but at the same time we can’t let our season be derailed by the unknown. I think [GM] Chris [Antonetti] did a really god job protecting us … I think it’s going to make us a better team and protect us from the unknown.”

A couple more Indians notes…

  • The Indians’ signing of Gavin Floyd was all about adding depth and innings to a promising but young rotation, writes MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. While the team does have other arms that had figured to compete for time in the rotation, they can continue to develop in the upper minors and remain ready to step in if a need arises.
  • Also from Bastian, the club announced today that Jason Bere, a special assistant to the baseball operations department, has been named the club’s new bullpen coach in the wake of Kevin Cash’s departure to manage the Rays. “He’s been with the organization a long time, so everybody knows him,” Francona told Bastian. “By design, we had him around a lot, not just in Spring Training, but in September and at a few key points during the year, because of what he can add to a staff.”
  • After receiving his release today from Cleveland, righty Tyler Cloyd is expected to reach agreement with the KBO’s Samsung Lions, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The club had announced that it was releasing Cloyd so that he could pursue an opportunity in Korea.