Rangers, David Murphy, Avoid Arbitration


Today, the Texas Rangers agreed on a one-year contract with their last remaining arbitration-eligible player, David Murphy, worth $5.775 million. The divide, which became known a handful of days ago, was $1.5 million, with Texas offering $5 million while Murphy was set on bringing in $6.5 million. Ostensibly they split the difference, although Murphy got an extra $25K if you’re dividing 11.5 by 2.

David Murphy had a landmark 2012, providing a triple slash of .304/.380/.479, a 127 wRC+ and an even 4.0 fWAR — more than doubling his previous-best set in 2010 (1.9). In his third and final year of arbitration, Murphy reels in $5.775 million, or about the price of 1.2 fWAR, given the price of one win being $5 million. From the perspective of arbitration and the tangled reality that gets involved when a player goes toe-to-toe with his organization, the $5.775 million figure seems like a victory for the Rangers, and signals this will be the final year of Murphy’s tenure in Arlington, being that no years were tacked on.

David Murphy joins a quartet of outfielders in 2012, along with veteran Nelson Cruz, and the expected center field platoon of Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry. At the sub-$6 million total, Murphy stands to arguably provide a better value than Cruz’s $10.5 million salary in 2013.

Murphy has been a career 4th outfielder, typically providing average defense and strong offense against only right-handed pitching, posting an atrocious .261/.313/.361 lifetime triple slash against lefties. In 2012, his BABIP (Batting Average of Balls In Play) vs. LHP was .433, an unsustainable figure, being that the average BABIP among Major Leaguers in 2012 was .297. It also helps explain why Murphy transformed into an everyday outfielder last year.

With Murphy in the fold, the Rangers have themselves a starting left fielder in 2012, and further extrapolate their gain from the Eric Gagne trade of 2007. No one ever really expected this type of production from Murph, so even if he’s not in Texas’s longterm plans, if Michael Young was considered a “Super Utility Infielder,” Murphy is certainly a “Super 4th Outfielder.”

More to come.