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FORT MYERS, Fla. — A major league source confirmed the report of ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that the Red Sox agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder David Murphy on Monday.

The agreement calls for Murphy, the team’s first-round pick in 2003, to make a $2 million base salary if he is added to the big league roster, according to the source.

The move offers the sort of veteran depth protection that makes sense for a Red Sox team dealing with a considerable amount of uncertainty with its anticipated outfield alignment. Although Mookie Betts performed at the level of an emerging star in 2015, both Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr. lack the lengthy track records that offer clear expectations for their potential offensive contributions.


Murphy offers the possibility of a strong platoon option, a lefthanded hitter who has a clear track record of delivering solid at-bats against righties. While Betts will play every day, the Red Sox have some question marks about their outfield’s ability to perform against righties. The righthanded Castillo and Chris Young and the lefthanded Bradley all posted much stronger numbers last year against lefties than righties. Even Brock Holt and Travis Shaw, versatile lefthanded-hitting depth options, had reverse splits in 2015 that saw them post better numbers against lefties than righties.

The right stuff?
A look at how Red Sox outfielders performed against righthanded pitchers in 2015.
Mookie Betts (RHH) 493 .285 .336 .477 13
David Murphy (LHH) 365 .281 .315 .420 10
Brock Holt (LHH) 381 .270 .333 .368 2
Travis Shaw (LHH) 163 .236 .313 .410 7
Rusney Castillo (RHH) 195 .222 .258 .308 3
Jackie Bradley (LHH) 172 .221 .308 .483 8
Chris Young (RHH) 181 .182 .246 .339 7
Source: baseball-reference.com

Murphy, 34, hit .283 with a .318 OBP and .421 slugging mark along with 10 homers in 132 games for the Indians and Angels last year. His playing time followed a relatively familiar pattern last year — he almost exclusively faced righties, against whom he has a career line of .278/.341/.454, compared to marks of .258/.305/.350 against lefties. He split time between the corner outfield spots and DH, with most of his time coming in left field.

Once a player capable of playing all three outfield positions — a big part of the Sox’ attraction to Murphy in the draft was his well-rounded game that included the capacity to play a solid defensive center field — Murphy is now mostly limited to corner outfield duties. Still, with Bradley, Betts, Castillo, and even Holt all having demonstrated the ability to play center, the Sox have some positional flexibility. Now, they have a potential veteran insurance option should Bradley or Castillo struggle.


Follow Alex Speier on Twitter @alexspeier.