Indians trade outfielder David Murphy to Angels
CLEVELAND (AP) Their season wasting away, the Cleveland Indians started looking toward 2016.
One of baseball's most underachieving teams, the Indians traded veteran outfielder David Murphy to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday for minor league shortstop Eric Stamets.
Murphy was one of the few bright spots for Cleveland, batting .296 with five homers and 27 RBIs in 84 games. But with the club's record worsening by the day, and the Indians' offense stuck in a perpetual funk, general manager Chris Antonetti feels it's time to plan for the future - not this October.
''It's really disappointing,'' Antonetti said after the Indians lost their sixth straight, 2-1 to the Kansas City Royals. ''I don't think any of us expected to be in this spot. The most important thing is that we make something of it and play as well as we can for the balance of the season and make sure that we enter 2016 in a better spot than we are in right now.''
The Angels addressed their most glaring lineup weakness in left field by adding their third experienced outfielder in two days. They acquired Shane Victorino from Boston on Monday, and they added David DeJesus from Tampa Bay earlier Tuesday before picking up Murphy, a longtime AL West foe during his time with Texas.
''They're veteran guys that have played in very important games before, including the postseason,'' Angels interim general manager Bill Stoneman said. ''That sort of experience should help us as we approach September and hopefully the postseason.''
Los Angeles' 10-5 loss to Houston on Tuesday night left the Angels and Astros tied for first in the AL West.
The Angels have excelled despite minimal offensive production in left field after owner Arte Moreno got rid of $125 million slugger Josh Hamilton in April with no clear replacement. Outfielder Matt Joyce, who is batting .178 in an awful season, could find himself without a roster spot after he returns from the concussion disabled list.
''The results will show up on the field, but I feel a lot better, especially getting some guys that play left field now,'' Stoneman said. ''I feel a whole lot better about our chances. We've got some veteran guys that have been there before and know what this battle is about as we go down to the wire.''
Murphy has played for Boston and Texas during his 10-year major league career, appearing in two World Series and 27 playoff games with the Rangers.
''I don't think it's going to be weird to be an Angel; I think it will be a bit weird playing against Texas as an Angel,'' Murphy said. ''On the positive side, I know the American League West extremely well, so I think that's only going to help.''
The 33-year-old Murphy was originally in Cleveland's lineup Tuesday night, batting fourth as the designated hitter against Kansas City. He was scratched about an hour before the first pitch.
He left Texas to sign as a free agent with the Indians in 2013, and he is making $6 million this season with a $7 million club option for 2016. He batted .262 with eight homers and 58 RBIs last season.
''Obviously, he's one of my best friends, so I'm going to miss him,'' Indians outfielder Brandon Moss said. ''But, he's going to a place where (the team) is in a position that we thought we'd be in at this point. To go from a team that's struggling and trying to find its way right now, to a team that's playing good baseball and doing some good things, I'm sure he's excited for the opportunity.''
Stamets, 23, has spent the entire 2015 season at Double-A Arkansas. He is a standout fielder, but is batting .248 with three homers and 23 RBIs in 62 games.
''He's a guy we've liked for a while, dating back to his days in the draft from the University of Evansville,'' Antonetti said. ''He's a defensive-oriented shortstop. He's a really good defender at short and is developing with the bat. He's a guy that will add depth to our upper-level infielders in our system and a guy we're excited to have.''