Indians officially sign David Murphy

Updated: November 25, 2013, 5:50 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Little Faith Murphy scooped everyone on her daddy signing with the Indians.

After free agent outfielder David Murphy agreed to terms on a contract last week with Cleveland, his 5-year-old daughter, Faith, was at pre-school in Texas where she was learning about Thanksgiving. That's when she broke the big news and startled some teachers.

"They were talking about Pilgrims and Indians," Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti said on a conference call. "And she said, 'My daddy is going to be an Indian.' That's a first for us."

[+] EnlargeDavid Murphy
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesDavid Murphy had a down season in 2013, batting a career-low .220 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs.

Murphy, who spent the past seven seasons with the Rangers, finalized a $12 million, two-year contract Monday. He will receive salaries of $5.5 million next year and $6 million in 2015, and the Indians have a $7 million option for 2016 with a $500,000 buyout.

His daughter didn't provide any more details on his contract, and Murphy said he's looking forward to one day telling her about how she innocently announced he was Cleveland bound.

"It's going to be a cute story someday," Murphy said, "a funny story that we can tell her about when she's older."

Among the Indians' offseason goals were to improve their depth in the outfield and increase their production against right-handed hitters. They feel they've addressed both needs by signing Murphy, who has a career .275 average and can play all three outfield positions.

Murphy had a down season in 2013, batting a career-low .220 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs in 142 games. He said after the club lost slugger Josh Hamilton and others to free agency that he tried to become a different type of hitter.

"I saw that we lost Josh, that we lost Michael Young, that we lost Mike Napoli," he said. "I put a little bit more pressure on myself to step into a bigger role and play a bigger part in the offense. I tried to re-create my own identity instead of being the same guy I'd always been in the past."

The Indians are confident he'll put up statistics more in line with his career numbers.

"If you look at his track record, he's been pretty consistent, especially against right-handed pitching," Antonetti said. "We expect him to bounce back and get closer to his career norms next year."

Murphy played mostly left field, but the Indians will use him in all three spots. Antonetti expects manager Terry Francona to primarily give Murphy the bulk of his at-bats while playing right field, where he can platoon with Ryan Raburn or Drew Stubbs, who is eligible for salary arbitration.

"He will give Terry the opportunity to mix and match," Antonetti said. "It will keep guys healthy and fresh. We feel like we can match up well with whoever is pitching."

A left-handed hitter, Murphy batted .304 in 2012 with 15 homers and 61 RBIs in 147 games. He finished among the AL leaders in on-base percentage and average.

Murphy was drafted by Boston in 2003 and traded to Texas in 2007. He played in two World Series with the Rangers and is excited to be joining an Indians team that got a taste of the postseason.

"They have a lot of fun on the field and they believe in one another," Murphy said. "Obviously, they won 92 games last year, and they look like they're only going to get better."

Also as part of his contract, Murphy's 2016 salary can increase by $1.5 million based on 2015 plate appearances: $250,000 each for 500, 525, 550 and 575 plate appearances, and $500,000 for 600. He would receive a $100,000 bonus if traded.

Antonetti said the Indians remainin contact with the agents for free agent starting pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir.


Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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