Is This Where He Belongs?

aducci
During the month of August, the Rangers made a move to replace Nelson Cruz in Right Field not just for this year, but conceivably for next year and the year after that. While that doesn’t necessarily disqualify the idea of Cruz coming back for Texas next year, it greatly decreases the odds. Right Field is taken care of.
In Center Field, Leonys Martin has all but cemented his spot as next year’s Opening Day option with Craig Gentry remaining a platoon option. Center Field is taken care of.

But what about Left Field? A spot that had been fairly anchored down for the last three years will now be replaced by a question mark as the Rangers head to the offseason. Your two center fielders could conceivably play the 7 spot on the field, but Leonys is too good of a Center Fielder, and Gentry has only had one season as an everyday player; barring that fact, a corner outfield spot typically calls for a power hitter, and Gentry is anything but that. No, Gentry seems destined to be the fourth outfielder on this team.


On Monday, Ron Washington slotted career minor leaguer Jim Adduci in as the left fielder over a consistently struggling David Murphy. My own speculation began. I was a fan of Adduci during Spring Training – he was a big guy who had the potential to hit for the kind of power a Rangers fan has expected from the left field position, and he was a good base runner. He didn’t crack the opening roster on the 2013 team because, let’s face it, there just wasn’t a spot for him. His call up on September 1st, however, provided a glimmer of hope for the Canadian.


What of David Murphy though? Murphy, the guy who seemingly assumed a spot of quiet leadership, much the way Michael Young was in 2012. Murphy, a veteran who could play a heck of a left field under the radar and ran the bases equally as unnoticed. Murphy, the Baylor grad who has perennially been a slow starter and strong finisher, whose walk-up music begged to be sung along to, who could turn the game around with a swing that didn’t necessarily leave the yard, but definitely could in a big way.


Assuming the Rangers and JD don’t go out and track down a Free Agent outfielder(and with Ellsbury, Choo, and Beltran on the market and names like Gonzalez and Stanton potentially on the trading block, this whole article could be for naught), what if it came down to Adduci and Murphy? The comparisons were there and Adduci had been tearing it up in Round Rock, but how would the stats add up? Let’s look at the tale of the tape first:


Jim Charles Adduci – 28 years old, 6’2”, 210 lbs, Professional Debut: 2004. Signed to a minor league contract in 2013, arbitration eligible in 2016, available as a free agent in 2019.


David Matthew Murphy – 31 years old, 6’4”, 210 lbs, Professional Debut: 2003. Signed to a 1-year deal in 2013 for $5.78M avoiding arbitration, available as a free agent in 2014.


The age, the money, and the controllability certainly favors Adduci. But how about in the game? I love relying on eye tests as opposed to sabremetric stats, but since Adduci hasn’t been up for enough time to show something, I turned to the stat sheets. To try and find trends, I went with 2012 and 2013 stats, using Adduci’s numbers from Round Rock this year. 


2012 Adduci – 126 Games, 399AB – .298/.371/.419 – 53BB, 87K, 18SB
2012 Murphy – 147 Games, 457AB – .304/.380/.479 – 61BB, 74K, 10SB


2013 Adduci – 127 Games, 473AB – .298/.381/.463 – 68BB, 107K, 32SB
2013 Murphy – 130 Games, 412AB – .221/.280/.379 – 35BB, 55K, 1SB


It’s tough to compare AAA numbers to an MLB vet with a proven track record. Like I stated before, Adduci is 3 years younger than Murphy is and putting up numbers like 2012 Murphy did. You’d love to point to the low K rate for Murphy, but just in using the eye test for that, you can tell it’s because Murphy’s grounded into so many middle infield outs it’s not even funny.


What it comes down to is this: In a contract year, David Murphy has tremendously hurt his value. Coming out of 2012, it looked like David Murphy would command a decent multi-year, mid-dollar contract. As 2013 continues, it’s looking more and more like Murphy might need to take a “pillow contract” to rebuild his value. Will that be with the Rangers? On one hand, JD could get Murphy back on the cheap. He could probably get David back at less than he was paid this year – but the fact remains that at $5.78M, David Murphy’s presence in this lineup has cost this team wins, much in the same way that Michael Young did.


Is Adduci the answer? Maybe not, but if the front office drops more cash for a starting pitcher and catcher, we may not see a decent free agent corner outfielder come to Texas. Adduci, 3 years younger and millions of dollars cheaper, could become the next (2012) David Murphy. 
Matthew Fisher is a guest contributor for ShutDowninning.com. He can be reached on Twitter@NextWaveMLB.
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Matt Fisher
Matt Fisher is an Editor/Staff Writer for ShutdownInning. He is a baseball lifer, preferring to use the eye test and rely on the knowledge and analysis of baseball minds greater than his, while using relevant stats to encourage situational discussions. He is also co-host of The Most Valuable Podcast on the NextWave Radio Network, talking sports, entertainment, and sports entertainment.

While Matt's favorite team will always be his hometown Texas Rangers, he knows the ongoing story lines of every team in Major League Baseball. If you sit next to him at a game, be prepared to hear him try and do play-by-play. If you're famous and reading this, just know that he's not afraid to drop names.

Matt Fisher. ShutdownInning Editor/Staff Writer

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