David Murphy – A Retrospective

David Murphy is one of those guys who is so nice and congenial, that you really just feel awful for feeling or saying anything negative about him. Unfortunately, when one becomes a professional athlete, all the niceness in the world cannot spare you if you don’t perform for your team and the fan-base.
Murphy came to Texas when he was 25 (2007 trade deadline move) and has always been the perfect “fourth outfielder” type for Texas. He was effective enough to do something positive when called upon in pinch-hitting situations and had the defense to come in as a replacement. With the additions of Hamilton and Cruz to the Rangers, very few people could have predicted a NEED for Murphy to try and become a starting outfielder in the major leagues at any point. His path to 2013 is an interesting one, to say the least.

2011 saw him earn a little extra playing time by being consistently good against righties, a trend that is a theme when observing Murphy’s career. He played mostly LF when used in the field, although he did fill in in right for an ailing Nelson Cruz as well. Another trend that became clearer was his tendency to start off the season very slowly and then be raring to hit by the time late August turned into September. He was a key figure in helping the Rangers get to a second World Series appearance that season. 2012 saw him play his way into an every day starter role when his numbers against lefties picked up and he was scorching them nonstop. It was based on that uptick that the Rangers brought him back for 2013.

No one expected him to pick up Hamilton’s slack this past season, and if they somehow did, they should reevaluate their thinking processes. That being said, more was expected when Wash said he was the starter in left field. He ended the season with a .220/.339/.433 slash. His numbers have remained consistent in the context of what types of pitches he usually puts in play, but therein lies the problem for 2013 Murphy. Instead of finding ways to get his grounders through the holes in the infield or up the middle into center, those grounders were scooped by the second baseman for an out. To be fair, that didn’t just happen to him, but it did tend to happen to him in noticeable situations. All in all, his age 31 season was not the best time to see if he could be a starter, especially after years of being used a certain way and being accustomed to limited playing time over a season.

He is now on the road to free agency, and will probably not be a Ranger any longer. Part of me will miss El Oso Bautista going forward. As I said, he was a likeable guy and did bring a genial presence to the Rangers, and was a very good fit as a bench bat/defensive replacement. It is, however, time for the Rangers and Mr. Murphy to part ways. It’s hard to peg where he’ll end up (some have speculated Houston or San Francisco as a backup), but I wish him well in his future and thank him for what he was able to do to help the Rangers in their pursuit of the ultimate prize.

If this is good bye, Murph Dawg, thanks for everything… in particular, striking out Mike Carp that one blowout in June.

Sarah Powers is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning.com. She can be reached at sarah.powers@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @Power_Play86.
Sarah Powers

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