Atlanta Braves ink Murphy to Minor-League deal
Donnie Murphy is playing with his 4th organization in less than a full-season as the Braves inked the 31 year-old utility infielder to a Minor League deal. Murphy was sent to AAA Gwinnett where he’ll receive fairly regular playing time due to the promotion of Phil Gosselin and Tyler Pastornicky‘s recent DL announcement (nothing serious, just a deep bruise). Murphy will likely continue to play all around the diamond seeing time at 3b, SS, and 2b and try to salvage his career, as he’s now found himself on the wrong side of 30 and his offense has fallen off a cliff.
Murphy ended last year in the Cubs organization and played exceptionally well in a part-time role hitting 11 HR with an .849 OPS playing SS, 3b, and 2b. In the offseason, he avoided arbitration by re-upping with the Cubs on a 1 year/825K deal. However, prior to the season, the Cubs mysteriously waived Murphy (an odd move to waive a cheap veteran who had a great year prior, right before season’s start) and the Rangers scooped him up. This would not be the last move for the well-traveled Murphy as he was released by the Rangers on July 9th, 2014 and picked up on the 18th of the same month by the Reds (minor-league deal). Later, Murphy opted out of the Minor League deal with the Reds, and we all know what happened next.
What does this signing really mean for the Atlanta Braves?
Likely nothing for Murphy, but let’s look at the organizational impact and one tiny glimpse of hope for Murphy:
1. Phil Gosselin is here to stay- Many on this board had been pining for “Goose” to take Uggla’s spot on the bench since the 2nd month of the season, and now that we’ve seen what Gosselin can provide off the bench and as a part-time starter, it’s likely that Gosselin has solidified his spot for years to come.
2. No promotions likely for Mississippi Braves’ infielders- 3b Kyle Kubitza and 2b/SS Jose Peraza are both having breakout years for the Mississippi Braves, but this signing indicates that neither player will receive a call-up to AAA this season. For the sake of the Mississippi team, I’m ok with that as that particular squad has a chance to make the playoffs and do well and that experience will be good for those 2 guys.
3. The Braves are considering releasing Ramiro Pena- Like the majority of our bench, Ramiro Pena has been bad at his job this year. The Braves were hopeful that Pena could be the offensive-production off the bench while filling in for players all around the infield on off days. This experiment has face-planted as Pena has had little to no value in either role. The Braves, being a smart organization, should have seen this coming as Pena has never been known for his bat. Aside from 2 months of above-average production in an Atlanta uniform, the utility-infielder has been a well-below average hitter in both the minors and the majors. While I think Pena’s role might not be safe for the rest of this year, I don’t think that the Braves would replace Pena with someone like Murphy, who has been as equally useless. With the acquisition of Emilio Bonifacio and the promotion of Phil Gosselin, the Braves could bring up a pure bat to take Pena’s place, as he’s now 3rd in line off the bench as far as utility-infielders are concerned.
A bold prediction for the Atlanta Braves’ bench
The Braves release Ramiro Pena soon. His position is redundant and his offensive production has been nil. I’m not sure what the corresponding move would be in this scenario, whether it be trade or promotion, but I don’t foresee Pena in a Braves’ uniform come September.