David Murphy got his shot to be an everyday regular in the big leagues last season with the Texas Rangers, and it went horribly for the native Texan and fan favorite.
Murphy turned in a career-worst season with the Rangers, and it came at the worst possible time — heading into free agency, where the Rangers surely weren't going to be bringing him back.
Murphy hit .220 with the Rangers and never even really got on a hot streak even once. He was consistently bad all year and eventually lost his job to Craig Gentry over the final month or so of the season when Gentry got red-hot.
Murphy signed a two-year deal worth $12 million with a club option for a third year with the Cleveland Indian and he hopes to reward the Indians for taking a chance on a guy coming off such a bad year.
Murphy said he learned some lessons from his disastrous season in Texas as he was trying to perhaps push too much at the plate to help compensate for the loss of power in the Rangers' lineup, most notably Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli.
“I tried to pull the ball a little bit more than I had in the past,” Murphy told the Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio. “I tried to hit the ball for a little more power than I have, instead of just being me.
“With the loss of Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, I came into spring training last year very ambitious. That’s not a bad thing, but as a player you need to stay within yourself. But I kind of stepped out of who I was and tried to force myself to hit for power — and that made my swing a little longer. At the end of the season, I realized I needed to keep a small approach. I need to hit some line drives. If I get a mistake here or there, hit a ball into the gap and maybe hit an occasional home run. I need to just be a productive piece in the lineup.”
Murphy's an easy guy to root for, and it'd be nice to see him bounce back in his new home this coming season, but that .220 hitter can feel free to come back to Arlington when the Indians visit.