The Los Angeles Angels have made an intriguing move by signing veteran infielder Daniel Murphy, who recently played in the independent Atlantic League for the Long Island Ducks.
Murphy will reportedly join the Salt Lake Bees, the Angels Triple-A affiliate, with hopes of soon being called up to the big club.
Murphy had an impressive stint with the Ducks, batting .331 with a .410 on-base percentage, .451 slugging percentage, nine doubles, and two home runs in 37 games.
At 38 years old, Murphy’s last appearance in the major leagues was in 2020. During his last MLB season, he played for the Colorado Rockies, posting a .236 batting average, .275 on-base percentage, .333 slugging percentage and three home runs in 40 games played.
It doesn’t seem too long ago that Murphy was a wrecking ball on the big stage.. His prime years from 2014 to 2018 were highly successful.
He made three All-Star Games as a member of the New York Mets and Washington Nationals and developed the reputation of one of the best pure hitters in all of baseball.
His strongest run came during the Mets 2015 postseason run where he played an instrumental role in helping the Mets reach the World Series.. In 14 postseason games, he achieved an extraordinary slash line of .328/.391/.724 with seven home runs.
Additionally, he set a record by hitting home runs in six consecutive postseason games. His remarkable performance earned him the NLCS MVP title with a ridiculous .529 batting average and a home run in each game of the sweep against the Chicago Cubs.
The Angels, currently holding a record of 36-31, are 6.5 games behind in the AL West division and 1.5 games out of the third and final American League wild-card spot. With the longest postseason drought in the league, the Angels are eager to reach the playoffs this year, especially to increase their chances of retaining Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani, who will become a free agent after the season, has expressed his desire to play for a contender.
Given Murphy’s versatility in playing first and second bases, his role with the Angels will likely be limited to first base or designated hitter due to his age and the new rules restricting infield shifts.
The Angels have seen various players start at first base this season, none of whom have produced impressive offensive numbers. The collective performance of those players stands at a mediocre .226 batting average, .286 on-base percentage, .367 slugging percentage, and eight home runs.
It remains unclear whether the Angels intend to give Murphy an audition in Triple-A or plan to call him up after a few tune-up games. The team has had limited plate appearances from left-handed hitters this year, with only 767 plate appearances overall (289 of which belong to Ohtani), ranking fourth lowest in the league.
Murphy could potentially address the Angels’ issues at first base and bring balance to their lineup. Regardless, signing Murphy to a minor league deal represents a low-risk, high-reward move for the Angels.