Outfielder David Murphy has opted out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox, according to several media members (including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal). The club now has 48 hours to either release the veteran or add him to the 25-man roster.
The move doesn’t come as a surprise, as there has already been speculation about other teams (namely the Orioles) that would be interested in Murphy if he was hit the open market. The 34-year-old hit .283/.318/.421 with 10 homers over 391 PA with the Angels and Indians last season, and he has a career .795 OPS against right-handed pitching, making Murphy a solid candidate for any club looking for left-handed bench depth or a platoon role. Murphy has hinted that he would consider retiring rather than take a minor league job at this stage of his career, though this could be a moot point if there is a solid market for his services.
If Boston puts Murphy on its Opening Day roster, he’ll receive a $2MM base salary for 2016 as per the teams of his minors contract with the team. It’s not out of the question that Murphy remains with the Sox, though the team has a number of outfield options to weigh. Even if Rusney Castillo is sent down to Triple-A, the Red Sox could use Brock Holt or Travis Shaw as the left-handed hitting side of a platoon with Chris Young in left field, rather than retain Murphy.