David Murphy Rumors

Quick Hits: Rangers, A’s, Jeter, Nationals, Phillies

In an attempt to compensate for the looming loss of Nelson Cruz to his 50-game suspension, the Rangers tried to swing a big trade for Justin Upton at the July trade deadline, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. The Braves refused a package of Matt Garza, Joe Nathan and David Murphy. If those are the only three players the Rangers offered, it's not a surprise that the Braves passed — Garza and Murphy are eligible for free agency after the season, while Upton is a good young player who is under contract through 2015. Eventually, of course, the Rangers acquired Alex Rios in August. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • The Athletics clinched their second AL West title in a row with an 11-7 win over the Twins on Sunday, and GM Billy Beane says the team's depth has been the key to their smooth season, John Hickey of InsideBayArea.com reports. "We knew going in this was the deepest roster we’d ever had here," says Beane. "We needed that depth, and it paid for itself." As Hickey points out, the Athletics hardly missed a beat all season, even though Brett Anderson, Josh Reddick, John Jaso and Derek Norris all missed significant time. Here are more notes from around the Majors. A quietly brilliant season from Josh Donaldson surely helped, but the A's got solid offensive and defensive performances from most of their hitters, and other than Anderson, their starting rotation mostly stayed healthy.
  • After taking in the ceremony for Mariano Rivera and the applause for Andy Pettitte on Sunday, it dawned on injured Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter that he had played his final game with his two retiring teammates, Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger reports. "I’m going to miss them a lot," says Jeter. "These guys have been brothers to me. We’ve been through quite a bit together. Pretty much everything you can experience on a field. In my whole professional career, I’ve been playing with at least one of them." The three had their rookie seasons together with the 1995 Yankees, and Jeter and Pettitte also played on many of the same minor-league teams, including Class A Greensboro in 1992 and and Triple-A Columbus in 1994 and 1995.
  • Pitcher Dan Haren thinks the Nationals should aim to keep their team together, writes MLB.com's Andrew Simon. "Last year they had a great year and this year we’ve shown a lot of fight here the last few months. I think as close as things could stay to the guys in this room, I think the better," Haren says. He also appears to support bench coach Randy Knorr for the Nationals' managerial position, which will be open when Davey Johnson retires after the season. Haren himself is a free agent, of course, and he seems aware that he might not be part of the 2014 Nationals, even if they ultimately go with a similar roster: "I know there’ll be some subtle changes, me probably being one of them."
  • Now that the Phillies have settled on Ryne Sandberg as their manager, they'll now turn their attention to their coaching staff, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports. With a new manager, it's typical to have at least some change in the rest of the coaching staff. Zolecki mentions that one potential change might be re-hiring former manager Larry Bowa in some capacity.
  • A "winter of discontent" is on the way for Phillies fans, writes Bob Ford of the Inquirer. After a recent streak of successful seasons, Ford says, a team elsewhere might "get a standing ovation and then be allowed to attempt its rebuilding with patient if not fervent support. That might be the case here as well, if only the team would get on with the rebuilding." Instead, the Phils will head into the offseason expecting to keep aging veterans Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Cliff Lee. They might also go into 2014 with Carlos Ruiz still at catcher, and perhaps also with Roy Halladay in the rotation. Ford compares the Phillies to a rock band who are still touring long past the point where they've lost relevance, "dyeing their hair and wearing hearing aids."

Quick Hits: Vlad, Murphy, Ryan, Lester

On this date in 2002, the Mets claimed a 26-year-old shortstop off waivers from the Brewers. He had just posted a .295/.382/.432 batting line in Triple-A Indianapolis a year prior, and would go on to make his Major League debut for the Mets that season. The infielder would bat just .216/.299/.351 in 129 plate appearances for the Mets over the next two years before being plucked off waivers again — this time by the A's. Marco Scutaro would eventually cement himself as a late bloomer and ultimately help the Giants to a World Series title before inking a three-year, $20MM contract this offseason. Here are some links from around the league as we enter the season's first full weekend…

  • Vladimir Guerrero turned down offers to play in Taiwan and in Quebec to sign with the Long Island Ducks, writes ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Crasnick goes on to explain that Guerrero's goal is to get back into Major League Baseball and chase the 500-homer plateau. He's currently 51 long balls shy with 449 in his career.
  • There have been no serious extension talks between David Murphy and the Rangers, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Murphy plans to play out the season and think about his next deal in the offseason.
  • Nolan Ryan will be at the Rangers home opener today, and he's taking a "wait-and-see" approach as he decides his future with the team, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that a rebound campaign from Red Sox lefty Jon Lester will likely result in a mega-deal that's comparable to some of the "silly money" deals doled out to starting pitchers around the game recently. Cafardo breaks down the track records of pitchers like Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels and others and compares them to Lester.

Quick Hits: Pettitte, Murphy, Soriano, Greinke

Cesar Carrillo, a right-handed pitcher in the Tigers system, became the first player listed in the Biogenesis documents to be suspended, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (twitter link).  As FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and others have noted, MLB has "greater jurisdiction over minor leaguers like Carrillo than major leaguers who are protected by the players' union."  Here are some other notes from around the majors:

  • Mariano Rivera's retirement plans have fellow Yankee stalwart Andy Pettitte wondering how and when to end his own "long, strange journey," as Daniel Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal describes it.  Pettitte sees some merit to ending his career around the same time as those of his long-time teammates, but does not want to "stop playing until I know that I'm done."
  • Outfielder David Murphy is still waiting to work out a long-term extension with the Rangers after discussing that possibility with the club earlier in the offseason, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.  While Murphy reiterated that he wants to remain a Ranger and has no hard feelings for the lack of progress towards a deal, he added that free agency is a "privilege" and that "waiting another year is not going to kill me."
  • While the Cubs "feel the presence of teams watching Alfonso Soriano," nevertheless "no substantive talks have taken place yet," tweets Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.  Cafardo mentions the Phillies and Yankees as teams that are "on [the] radar" for a possible Soriano deal.
  • With Zack Greinke still dealing with elbow issues, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated that the right-handed starter is facing an ever-narrowing window to be ready for the start of the regular season, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.  As has previously been noted, Greinke's timeline could impact the availability of the Dodgers' excess starting pitching options, such as Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang.

AL West Notes: Murphy, Angels, Vasquez

We've already looked at some Astros notes and two international signings by the A's today, so let's check in with the rest of the AL West…

  • Rangers outfielder David Murphy isn't concerned about his upcoming free agency after the season, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports.  With another good season, Crasnick opines that Murphy could top Shane Victorino's three-year, $39MM contract with the Red Sox and Angel Pagan's four-year, $40MM deal with the Giants.  Murphy, a Houston native, says he wants to remain with Texas and the two sides discussed an extension last month.  
  • The Angels outrighted Bobby Cassevah off the 40-man roster earlier today and MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (Twitter link) hears the move was "more a formality" and that the team isn't looking to fill the roster spot with any specific player.  The Angels currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster.
  • After undergoing brain surgery in November, left-hander Anthony Vasquez is already back working out in the Mariners' minor league camp, MLB.com's Greg Johns writes.  Vasquez made seven starts for Seattle in 2011 and made 11 starts at Triple-A Tacoma last season before being shut down with a shoulder injury.

Rangers, Murphy Have Talked Long-Term Deal

The Rangers have had discussions with Mike Moye, the agent for David Murphy, assistant general manager Thad Levine tells MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Murphy agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.775MM earlier today, avoiding arbitration for the final time before hitting free agency. According to Levine, the team preferred to "get through [arbitration] first and then continue that dialogue later."

"Later" could mean Spring Training, writes Sullivan. As he points out, the Rangers have hammered out significant extensions for both Derek Holland and Ian Kinsler during Spring Training in recent years. That line of thinking also allows the Rangers to have a better sense of their long-term outfield picture. As it stands, the team is still interested in both Justin Upton and Michael Bourn. Acquiring either could impact potential extension talks for Murphy.

According to Sullivan, the team is also interested in discussing a long-term deal for Nelson Cruz, but no talks have taken place as of yet. Those, much like talks with Murphy, are likely to occur during Spring Training. Cruz signed a two-year, $16MM contract with the Rangers last offseason that bought out his final two years of arbitration. The 32-year-old is eligible to become a free agent following the 2013 season.

Rangers, David Murphy Avoid Arbitration

The Rangers and David Murphy have avoided arbitration with a one-year contract, the team announced. It's a one-year, $5.775MM contract, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter). Moye Sports Associates represents the 31-year-old outfielder.

Murphy had filed for $6.5MM and the Rangers had countered at $5.05MM, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows. The sides settled at the midpoint, avoiding a potential hearing. This is Murphy's final time through the arbitration process; he's eligible for free agency following the 2013 season. All arbitration eligible Rangers now have contracts for 2013, the team confirmed.

Arbitration Filing Numbers

Many players will avoid arbitration today, and dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays and Braves are known for their 'file and trial' policies. For players on those teams this marks the last chance at negotiations before a hearing.

MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights — players who filed for $4MM or more. Now for the details…

West Notes: Cespedes, Cain, Beras, Murphy, Villalona

On this day in 2009, the Dodgers agreed to re-sign Manny Ramirez to a two-year, $45MM contract.  Ramirez's time in Los Angeles came to an end in August of 2010 when he was claimed off of waivers by the White Sox.  As a Dodger, the slugger hit .322/.433/.580 with 44 homers in 223 games.  Here's a look at some items out of the AL and NL West..

  • Yoenis Cespedes was warmly welcomed by Manny, writes Yahoo's Steve Henson. Ramirez discussed hitting extensively with his new friend, and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Cespedes says it's an "honor" to play with Ramirez. (Twitter link). 
  • There was a belief around baseball that Matt Cain was going to be an easy sign for the Giants, but that now seems less certain, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Word was that the hurler might even be prepared to sign back with the Giants for less than $100MM but that seems far less likely.
  • If the league upholds Jairo Beras' contract with the Rangers, sources with several teams have said that they will be furious, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America.  MLB has granted some players leniency in the past if they willingly came forward with a new age or a new identity, but that does not appear to be the case in this situation.
  • Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels says that multiple teams have inquired on David Murphy, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  Even though Murphy is slated to come off of the bench, Daniels says that the outfielder is a huge part of the club.  The Twins inquired on Murphy back in December but Texas was unwilling to compromise their outfield depth.
  • Angel Villalona's name plate has been removed from his locker and that's a sign that his visa issue isn't close to being resolved, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.  The Giants first baseman is facing legal trouble in his native Dominican Republic.
  • The Athletics formally introduced Cespedes today and the outfielder said that Miguel Tejada told him that Oakland was a good organization to grow up in, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Tuesday

Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here.  Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing.  Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints.  Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:


Twins Inquired On David Murphy

The Twins inquired on Rangers outfielder David Murphy, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.  However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Rangers are reluctant to compromise their outfield depth.  

Murphy, 30, hit .275/.328/.401 in 440 plate appearances this year while playing all three outfield positions.  Murphy is arbitration eligible for the second time this winter and MLBTR projects a $3.2MM salary for 2012.