The Indians made it official Monday, announcing the signing of free-agent outfielder David Murphy.
Negotiations on the two-year, $12 million contract (that includes a $7 million club option for 2014) were concluded last week, but the Tribe waited until Murphy passed a physical before revealing the deal.
Actually, Murphy’s 5-year-old daughter, Faith, was the first to break the news of his signing at a Texas day-care center.
“She was in preschool, and they were learning about Pilgrims and Indians,” Murphy said. “She spoke up that her dad was going to the Indians. Obviously, the word spreads quickly because of social media. It’s not the best situation, but it’s a good story to tell her when she gets older.
“People were asking me if it was true, and it’s hard for me to straight-out lie. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, so it was a good lesson to me on how social media works.”
Murphy, who bats from the left side, can play all three outfield positions but as expected, General Manager Chris Antonetti said that he would primarily play right and hit against right-handed pitchers.
“It will give [manager] Terry [Francona] the opportunity to mix and match in right,” Antonetti said. “It will also involve the DH.”
Ryan Raburn probably will form the other half of the platoon, playing against left-handers. Drew Stubbs, the incumbent in right, is still in the picture. Or is he?
Asked if he could keep all three outfielders, Antonetti said: “Absolutely. We feel we have three good outfielders [in right]. It gives us a lot of versatility and flexibility, which was one of our strengths last year.”
However, with Michael Brantley in left, Michael Bourn in center plus Murphy and Raburn in right, the probability is that Stubbs will be traded.
The designated hitter situation likely will shake out this way: Carlos Santana will become the Tribe’s former No. 1 catcher and move into the DH role. He also will spell Nick Swisher at first occasionally.
With the Rangers last year, Murphy’s statistics took a beating, as he batted .220 with 13 home runs and 45 RBI in 436 at-bats. In 2012, he batted .304 with 15 homers and 61 RBI in 457 at-bats.
Murphy thinks he knows why his performance suffered in 2013.
“There were a few different things,” he said, “Michael Young and Mike Napoli were gone, and I put more pressure on myself to step into a bigger role. I tried to recreate my own identity.”
Instead of concentrating on using the entire field, Murphy said he tried to yank pitches over the fence.
“I already knew I could hit for average, but I wanted to add power to it,” he said. “So I tried to lift the ball and pull it a little bit more. Then after the All-Star break, I got away from that mindset, but I didn’t have the greatest luck. Now, I’m looking forward to getting back to being me.”
Antonetti is confident that will happen.
“We expect him to bounce back and get closer to his norm next year,” he said.
The Indians made their intentions known to Murphy quickly.
“When the offseason began, I started thinking about where I wanted to go,” he said.
“I wanted it to be a place that wanted me as much as I wanted to be there. Cleveland was very aggressive. They were the frontrunner all long. It was pretty simple. That’s where I wanted to be.”
To make room on the 40-man roster for Murphy, the Tribe designated right-hander Tyler Cloyd for assignment. Cloyd was claimed on waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies last month.
Cord Phelps, who was designated for assignment last week, was claimed on waivers by the Baltimore Orioles.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.