Over eight seasons between 2006 and 2013, David Murphy made a name for himself patrolling the outfields of Fenway Park and The Ballpark in Arlington for the Red Sox and Rangers respectively.
The 31-year-old boasts a career slash line of .275/.337/.441 with 162-game averages of 16 HR, 31 doubles, 69 RBI and 69 runs scored.
Murphy is a very average fielder and possesses a career Total Zone rating of negative-one.
The Texas native can play all three outfield positions, but is markedly better in the corner-outfield positions as indicated by his 6.1, -31.0 and 10.3 UZR/150 ratings in left field, center field and right field respectively.
On the surface, this signing looks good for the Indians.However, a few things are at play here that turn this into somewhat of a head scratcher.
First of all, Murphy had a dismal 2013 season.
Over 436 at-bats, Murphy registered a .220/.282/.374 slash line with 13 home runs, 26 doubles, 45 RBI and 51 runs scored.
Murphy's 77 OPS+ was the lowest of his career, as was his .227 BAbip.
A lot of Murphy's poor season can be attributed to bad luck. In a season where Murphy posted career bests in line-drive rate and in-play rate—77 percent and 22 percent respectively—it's peculiar that Murphy would also post the worst season of his career.
Then there's the fact that the Indians really didn't need another outfielder.
The Tribe has a significant buildup of outfielders on their active roster. Between Drew Stubbs, Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn and Ryan Raburn, the Indians already had four players receiving significant time in the outfield.
Additionally, with the surprise that was Yan Gomes' 2013 season, the Indians will likely transition Carlos Santana into a full-time first base/DH role, making Nick Swisher a prime candidate to return to right field.
In short, there's a log jam in the outfield, and while Murphy does help to make the team better if he's getting enough at-bats, signing him to a two-year, $12 million contract doesn't seem like the best use of resources.