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Thursday, October 1, 2009
David Murphy: A fourth outfielder?

Ever since David Murphy arrived in Texas (from Boston), there was talk that he was a great addition to the outfield depth. He was a nice "fourth outfielder" for this club. And with Josh Hamilton, Marlon Byrd and Nelson Cruz on this team, not to mention Julio Borbon.

But with injuries limiting Hamilton's play, Murphy, a left-handed hitter, has become an integral part of the starting outfield/DH rotation. After going 0-for-23 to start the season, Murphy has avoided any really long slumps. He's batting .272 with 17 homers and 56 RBIs. When the offense was MIA for much of June, Byrd and Murphy were almost all the Rangers had. In September, with the offense in a slumber, Murphy hit .306 with five homers and 18 RBIs. He's played in 124 games so far in 2009, which is third among outfielders and the sixth-most on the team.

So where does Murphy fit on the 2010 squad? Well, that depends largely on whether Marlon Byrd is re-signed and who else might be brought in if he's not. Julio Borbon could be the club's leadoff hitter (but he might see some time at DH there). Hamilton will certainly see time in the lineup and in the outfield, though possibly at a corner spot. And you've got Nelson Cruz as well. No matter what Murphy does, it makes it tough to pencil him in as a starter. Plus, if you look at splits, Murphy is batting .237 against lefties. It should be pointed out that the entire team struggled against lefties this season.

How do you think Murphy should be utilized next season? If you were Ron Washington, how would you approach it?