Life has been hectic for me lately like it is for many of you which means I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like to. For that, I apologize to our readers.
I’m trying to play catch up on everything which brings me to writing about a guy I have criticized on numerous occasions, David Murphy. I’ve always liked Murphy as a person, teammate and fringe starting outfielder. No, he’s not of the caliber of a Rusty Greer, but that is okay.
Murphy retired on April 25 to little fanfare. He was looking for a major-league deal this season that wasn’t to be found. On April 26, Murphy jumped on the Ben & Skin Show and discussed why he made the decision to hang up the cleats and glove permanently. That radio segment is a must listen for fans of Murphy.
Murphy Comes Home
The native Texan came to the Rangers in 2007 in a trade along with Engel Beltre and Kason Gabbard from Boston for Eric Gagne. Murphy looked comfortable in Arlington as he hit .340/.382/.534 in 43 games that 2007 season.
Murph would go on to play seven seasons for the Rangers where he hit .275/.337/.440 with a 104 OPS+ and 11.1 wins. Murphy had a key role in the Rangers first World Series run when David hit .291/.358/.449 with a career-high 14 stolen bases and accumulated 2.6 wins. The following season saw Murphy’s numbers dip to a 92 OPS+ and only 0.9 wins.
We all know how the 2011 season finished. It was a disappointing season for Murphy, but it didn’t carry until the next season for him. The 2012 season was Murphy’s best. At age 30, David hit .304/.380/.479 with a 126 OPS+ and 3.7 wins. He finished sixth on the team in wins and was third in OPS+. With only one year remaining on his contract, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Murphy would get a contract extension after 2013.
David Murphy: Shutdown Reliever
Overall, the 2013 season was horrendous for Murphy. He only hit .220/.282/.374 which was a career-worst. It was also the worst time to have a down year as he was playing for a contract. While it was a wash of a season for the 31-year-old, he did have his moment on June 4.
With the team down 17-3 against the Red Sox, Murphy took the mound to stop the bleeding.
“I wasn’t trying to mess around,” Murphy said. “My arm is definitely not in condition to pitch, and I didn’t want to do anything silly or anything I would have regretted. I mean, it would have been fun to throw as hard as you can and light up the radar gun, but I wasn’t going to do that.”
“It was fun to do,” Murphy said. “It will be fun someday to look back and say I did that in a big league game.”
The 2013 season ended and Murphy never received that big contract he had once hoped for. There wasn’t a need for a struggling platoon outfielder that was on the wrong side of 30. The Rangers would go on to sign Shin-Soo Choo to a large contract in the off-season. Ironically, Murphy didn’t fare much worse than Choo that season (97 OPS+ compared to Choo’s 100) as David played the entire year in Cleveland.
David Murphy remains a fan favorite in Texas and while it may be a stretch to call him a “Texas Rangers Legend,” he is that in the minds of many folks who have followed the Rangers during the Camelot years.