It’s not terribly surprising to see the move. Murphy, 34, remains a useful player, and the Angels have deep pockets, but that price tag always seemed a bit steep given the team’s needs and desire to stay below the luxury tax line.
Murphy came to Los Angeles at the trade deadline, as did fellow veteran outfielders Shane Victorino and David DeJesus. But Murphy saw more action than the others.
He ultimately slashed .283/.318/.421 in 391 plate appearances on the year, with ten home runs, but put up better numbers in the first half with the Indians. Murphy saw virtually no action against lefties last year and has rather severe career platoon splits.
Now that he’s set to return to the open market, Murphy will join a group of other left-handed-hitting, non-premium outfielders that includes Gerardo Parra and Alejandro De Aza. Los Angeles could still utilize some form of platoon arrangement in left, as it did down the stretch, but will surely be interested in testing the top of the market first. Indeed, it cleared the way for that possibility by passing on Murphy’s option.