Indians reach two-year deal with David Murphy

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From Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News comes word the the Indians have reached agreement on a two-year contract with free agent outfielder David Murphy. It’s expected to be worth more than $10 million, though no exact figure has been released.

Murphy posted a career-worst .656 OPS in 2013, but the left-handed hitter had a .304/.380/.479 slash line in 2012 and fits nicely into an outfield platoon with the right-handed-hitting Ryan Raburn in Cleveland.

Murphy spent seven years with the Texas Rangers, batting .275/.337/.440 with 85 home runs and 362 RBI in 826 games. He was a first-round pick of the Red Sox (at No. 17 overall) in the 2003 MLB Amateur Draft.

The 32-year-old could prove to be a nice pickup in a market of massive deals.

Cleveland will likely either trade or non-tender the now-expendable Drew Stubbs.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.