SARASOTA, Fla. — David Murphy likely will opt out of his contract with the Red Sox on Sunday to become a free agent. When he does, he should have a handful of teams willing to offer him a major league deal.
“I feel I’ve had a decent camp and shown the Red Sox what I can do,” Murphy said. “I just want to end up in a major league uniform.”
The Orioles, according to a major league source, are one of the teams eyeing Murphy. Baltimore has outfield defense problems with Hyun Soo Kim in left and Mark Trumbo in right. The Royals, Phillies, and Twins also have been watching Murphy during spring training. And the White Sox may have some interest with Adam LaRoche retired.
Murphy was hoping to stay with the Red Sox, but none of Boston’s outfielders have suffered an injury to open a spot.
Murphy was the Sox’ designated hitter in Saturday’s 16-8 loss to the Orioles and was 0 for 3 with a walk. He mentioned he hadn’t gotten regular at-bats over the last five days and didn’t know how to interpret that.
“I don’t know if that meant they had seen enough of me. I don’t know. I’ll find out more tomorrow,” he said. “But I honestly don’t know what to expect or what the timeline on things will be tomorrow. I’ve never been in this situation before.”
Also in limbo is Allen Craig, who has produced in camp and is getting noticed by other major league teams. Craig likely is headed back to Triple A Pawtucket and will make $9 million this season. He’s also due $11 million for 2017.
“I’ve had good at-bats,” Craig said. “But I can’t control anything else. I can control what I can control and that’s my performance on the field. Whatever happens, happens. I would like to think I had a chance to make the team. I don’t know what to expect.”
There doesn’t seem to be room for Craig on the major league roster. And the Sox believe Craig needs to be an everyday player because he’s a rhythm hitter.
The Red Sox could also release him and eat the nearly $20 million they owe him. Craig knows a decision will be made soon, but the better he plays, the more likely it is a team will trade for him.
“I’m trying to take care of what I can. It’s not up to me,” Craig said. “I think they’ll make me aware of that soon. I don’t know what else I can do. It’s not my job to do that type of stuff. I feel great. My swing is back. I know what I can do and I just have to make the most of my opportunities.”
Fenway netting close
The Red Sox are close to completing the installation of new protective netting at Fenway Park.
Team president Sam Kennedy said the new nets are 9 feet 8 inches high, the same height as the current backstop, and extend to the inside edge of both dugouts. They are attached to cables and stand straight up.
The nets run from Dugout Box 29 on the first base side to Dugout Box 61 next to the visitors’ dugout. They are made of material that best provides a view of the game while at the same time ensuring safety.
In December, Major League Baseball recommended that all teams install nets in front of any field-level seats within 70 feet of home plate.
Manager John Farrell said he found out some things in Saturday’s loss. One is that lefthander Roenis Elias isn’t very effective with one day of rest. Elias allowed six runs on seven hits, including three homers, in two-thirds of an inning. “He didn’t nearly have the same stuff with one day off,” Farrell said. “Today was a tough day for him.” . . . Pablo Sandoval isn’t far from returning to the lineup after missing time with a back issue. He took ground balls on Saturday. “The last two days he’s made marked improvement,” said Farrell. “If he checks out OK tomorrow, that’ll give us an indication of when he can return to the lineup. His range of motion has returned and all of the stiffness has been worked out of there. The early part of the week [for a return] is becoming more realistic.” . . . Farrell doesn’t think Christian Vazquez has had enough time to put himself into the mix for a roster spot. Farrell isn’t sure if Vazquez will go to Pawtucket or stay in Fort Myers for extended spring training. Would the Red Sox eventually go with a third catcher? “It hasn’t been ruled out,” Farrell said. “Monday is an important conversation as an organization. The good thing is players are coming back to us in a good way.” Farrell indicated Joe Kelly and catcher Ryan Hanigan have worked well together, and that could be a combination used during the regular season. Farrell wouldn’t go as far with Hanigan and David Price, even though Hanigan caught Price in Tampa Bay. “There’s familiarity with David and Ryan, but we’ve been excited with the way Blake Swihart has progressed,” said Farrell. “He’s a tremendous offensive catcher and has skills that others don’t have. So that’s one of the combinations we’re looking at.” . . . “Butterball” was held at Fort Myers, an annual event where infield coach Brian Butterfield gets all of the infielders together to go over defensive shifts, cutoffs, relays, coverage, and situational play. It’s usually a fun event for the players and Butterfield.