Let me start by saying that I like David Murphy. Good guy. Team player. Level-headed. Always says the right thing. One day he will probably be a big league manager and whatever team gives him that opportunity will be lucky to have him.
But for all of the things that I like about Murphy, I do not like him in center field. He is not, nor should he ever be, a full-time center fielder.
I’m not sure why this pops up every once in a while, but there is a small contingent of Rangers fans that seem to think that the solution to the problem in CF is David Murphy. After all, if he took over the position, his bat would be in the lineup everyday and Hamilton wouldn’t go crashing into walls nearly as often.
(Due to injuries to Hamilton and Cruz, Murphy has had at least 440 plate appearances each of the last 4 seasons, so worrying about getting his bat in the lineup seems kind of silly.)
But Murphy is not a natural CFer. To play the position, you need range (speed) and a good-to-plus throwing arm. Murphy doesn’t really have either.
To illustrate my point I’ve compiled a very scientific list of current Rangers that have better arms than David Murphy…
That’s most of the current Rangers, actually.
As far as speed goes, Murphy just doesn’t have it. He played center field 13 times last season and every one of those times it seemed like a ball or two went looping over his head. Balls that Hamilton or Gentry easily could have run down.
As I said at the top, I like Murphy. There’s a lot to like. He just isn’t the solution up the middle.
For now I would play Gentry (with a little bit of Hamilton) and wait for Leonys Martin to turn into everything that we hope he can be.
Who knows? Maybe Gentry will surprise us and have a breakout season at the plate in 2012.
Press on, Rangers fans.
(You can find me on Twitter @BleacherSeatsTX.)