Indians trade veteran Murphy to Angels
Shortstop prospect Stamets heading to Cleveland to complete deal
CLEVELAND -- Hugs in the dugout are usually a sign that a player is preparing to pack his bags. During the fourth inning of the Indians' game against the Royals on Tuesday night, veteran outfielder David Murphy received his farewell embraces before heading to the clubhouse.
With the Indians sitting in the American League Central cellar, the club had to approach Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline with an eye both on this year and the future. With Murphy not a part of the long-term plans, the Tribe pulled its first deal of the trade season, sending the outfielder and cash considerations to the Angels in exchange for Minor League shortstop prospect Eric Stamets.
"He's one of the classiest guys we've ever had -- and we've had a lot of them," manager Terry Francona said after a 2-1 loss to Kansas City. "But, it will be a good situation for Murph."
In advance of Friday's 4 p.m. ET Deadline, the Angels acquired outfielder Shane Victorino from the Red Sox on Monday, and also swung a deal to land Rays outfielder David DeJesus on Tuesday. The Angels had been linked to Murphy for the past several days.
In 84 games this season, the left-handed-hitting Murphy has hit at a .296 clip with five home runs, 12 doubles, 22 runs and 27 RBIs for Cleveland, which has used him primarily against right-handed pitching. In 212 plate appearances against righties this year, Murphy has hit .297 with a .774 OPS. He has hit .274 with a .769 OPS in parts of 10 seasons with the Red Sox, Rangers and Indians.
Murphy, 33, is under contract for $6 million this season and has a team option worth $7 million (or a $500,000 buyout) for the 2016 season.
Antonetti said the Indians' place in the standings (Cleveland's loss dropped them to 45-54) played a role in parting ways with Murphy.
"I don't think we anticipated being in this spot," Antonetti said, "where we would be trading a veteran like Murphy, who is not only a contributing player on the field, but a great guy on the clubhouse and has been a big part of our team the last few years. This is the situation we're in now and there was an opportunity for us to get back a player we liked and also, as important, may provide an opportunity for a younger player to come up and get some at-bats."
Murphy initially was in the lineup as the designated hitter for Tuesday's game, but he was a late scratch as reports swirled about the pending deal with the Angels. Murphy remained in the home dugout with his teammates for the first few innings, getting the most out of his final day with the Indians, who inked him to a two-year contract prior to last season.
"He's one of my best friends, so I'm going to miss him," outfielder Brandon Moss said. "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. ... Personally, you hate losing your best friend, especially a guy that's been playing so well this year for our team."
The 23-year-old Stamets is ranked as the Angels' No. 22 prospect, according to MLB.com. In 62 games this season with Double-A Arkansas, he has turned in a .248/.306/.360 slash line to go along with three homers, 13 doubles, 23 RBIs and 17 runs scored.
Stamets -- a native of Dublin, Ohio, and a product of the University of Evansville in Illinois -- was taken by the Angels in the sixth round of the 2012 Draft and is considered an above-average defender with plus speed.
"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."