Oakland Athletics Should Make an Offer to Outfielder David Murphy

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The Oakland Athletics could use some help in the outfield. Although they’ll be forced by the size of his salary to give Coco Crisp every opportunity to be the everyday left fielder, the A’s need to have a plan for when Crisp inevitably gets hurt or simply can’t stay healthy enough to play every day. One of their best options is veteran David Murphy.

Murphy will be 34 in 2016, which is likely why the Los Angeles Angels declined his $7 million option at the end of the 2015 season. Murphy, who was traded to the Halos by the Cleveland Indians in July, posted very respectable numbers last year. He hit .283/.318/.421 between the two teams last season, including ten home runs and 50 RBIs.

Murphy should be familiar to Athletics fans because of his time with the Texas Rangers. He excelled there during his first several seasons, before having a rough year that resulted in him not being able to get the big free agent contract he probably would have been eligible for otherwise.

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So why would Murphy be good for the A’s? At first glance, it seems like he wouldn’t. Crisp and Billy Burns are both switch-hitters, and Josh Reddick is a left-handed hitter as well, so what can Murphy do that they can’t?

It’s less about making an improvement on the everyday level and more about increasing the reliability of the A’s bench. First of all, Crisp will inevitably miss time with an injury. He has been hurt or missed time every season, and it’s only gotten worse in the last two years. Age has finally caught up with him, and that means the A’s need a better contingency plan than Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry.

Murphy would be perfect for that, and he’s had experience as a bench player. The Indians utilized him in a platoon with Ryan Raburn, until Murphy played himself into a nearly-everyday job in the cleanup spot. His platoon splits aren’t drastic enough to rule out being an everyday player, he just has a lot more power against right-handers. No matter how he’s used, he would be able to help the Athletics by adding some power and consistency to the lineup.

Murphy is no Yoenis Cespedes, but one of the Athletics’ biggest weaknesses was their poor bench. Adding Murphy to it would give them a valuable backup for Crisp, and would also provide them with a lot more depth in terms of pinch hitters. How much would it cost? The Angels weren’t interested in Murphy at $7 million, so it might be possible to get him for one year, $5.5 million. Another option, considering his age, would be to offer him two years for $9 million.

Whether they go for a discount over the course of multiple years or more money for a one-year deal, the Athletics should consider making Murphy one of their main targets this winter.

Next: Is Sonny Gray's Size a Cause for Concern?

Be sure to check out all of the other great content on Swingin’ A’s, as we cover the A’s off-season news and rumors.

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