Los Angeles Angels declining $7 million option on David Murphy leaves left field up in the air

By David Rice

Many people thought the Los Angeles Angels should have acquired a bigger bat at the trade deadline when the team traded for left fielders David DeJesus, Shane Victorino and David Murphy in separate trades.

Victorino is a free agent and DeJesus has a $5 million club option and a $1 million buy out clause if the Angels decide to not pick up his option (they most likely won’t based on a .125 batting average after he was acquired). Most people figured the Angels would pick up David Murphy’s $7 million club option with his steady play down the stretch with the Angels. Murphy hit .265 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 48 games with the Angels. He had two walk-off hits during his time with the Angels and his defense was above average.

Overall, Murphy is averaging 15 homers, 69 RBIs and has a .274 career batting average. With this move, one can only wonder what the Angels are going to do to fill the biggest hole in the Angels’ lineup this past season. The Los Angeles Angels options could come from within in the form of Matt Joyce, Collin Cowgill or Daniel Robertson. Efren Navarro could possibly be in the mix as well. All of these players, except Joyce, are under club control as they have played less than five seasons in the majors so they are not eligible for free agency. Joyce will probably not be back after an abysmal year in 2015 that saw him hit a career-low .174 with five home runs and 21 RBIs. Joyce could sign a minor-league deal and go to spring training to attempt to win a spot on the roster for 2016.

As far as Cowgill, Robertson and Navarro, they could platoon in left field, but that would make left field a potential Achilles heel again in 2016. Even though the Angels declined Murphy’s option, they could still bring him back at a lower salary if he would accept a pay cut. However, more than likely this move means that the Angels are going to explore some free agent options to fill the void in left field with Yoenis Cespedes being a possible target.  The Angels could also use their glut of starting pitching talent in a trade for an everyday left fielder. Andre Ethier of the Dodgers and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies could be available if the price is right.

So stay tuned to Halo Hangout as we will report on any potential candidates for left field as well as other Los Angeles Angels offseason Hot Stove moves.