The Colorado Rockies have signed infielder, Daniel Murphy, to a two-year deal worth $24 million.
That deal will pay Murphy $10 million this upcoming season, then $8 million for the following season. His contract also includes a mutual option for the 2021 season, that would earn him $12 million.
His option for that season also carries a buyout of $6 million. So if both sides excessive the option, then Murphy would earn $30 million over the next three seasons with the Rockies. Instead of the guaranteed $24 million regardless if the option is exercised or not.
Murphy: $10M 2019, $8M 2020, Mutual option 2021 for $12M or $6M (of which $3M is deferred with out interest) buyout. BUYOUT INCREASES TO $7M (of which $4M is deferred without interest) if any award bonus is earned. awards bonuses. $2M if traded (each time). #rox— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 21, 2018
Here's the explanation if the tweet above gives you a headache about Murphy's bonuses involving that buyout for the 2021 season. So if Murphy earns an All-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, LCS MVP, WS MVP, league MVP, or Comeback player of the year award in his two years with the Rockies, his buyout then would increase from $6 million to $7 million.
It's likely that Murphy will win one of these awards in the next two seasons, given how he has performed in his career over the last few seasons. Disregarding last season because of Murphy only appearing in 91 games after recovering from knee surgery.
The soon to be 34-year-old appears he can still produce similar to the player he was during his All-Star seasons during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Over those two seasons, he averaged 24 home-runs, 99 RBI's along with a .335 batting average.
He also received an All-Star selection and a Silver Slugger in both of those seasons. In 2016, he also finished second in the NL MVP voting behind the winner, Kris Bryant.
With the Rockies not showing much interest in re-signing free agent DJ LeMahieu, then it appears that Murphy will likely split time at second base along with infielders, Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson.
However, it's more likely that Murphy will transition into playing a lot of first-base next season, which would move Ian Desmond to an outfield role. This move would then allow Murphy to worry more about hitting as he did in those previous seasons.
Which is very possible for him, because he will be able to play 81 games in the great hitting ballpark of Coors Field. The move to first-base will also likely put less ware-and-tear on his body, allowing him to be an effective player into his mid-to-late 30's.
What This Means
The Rockies have just acquired one of the best infielders that was available via free agency. Even though he will be turning 34-years-old this April, he can still be an effective hitter in their lineup.
Especially when most of those games will come at the hitter-friendly Coors Field. The move to first-base should also allow him to appear in about 145 games next season. Which should give him lots of at-bats to produce similar numbers from the 2016 and 2017 seasons.