Bill Murphy doesn't duck the question.
"There's no doubt about it, if I got picked in the Rule V draft, and knew I
was going to spend all year in the big leagues, that'd be the best situation I
Murphy, the talented lefty who was the key component to the Steve Finley
trade in 2004, was left unprotected by the Diamondbacks when he was left off the
40 man roster. It might be a devastating blow to the confidence of some
players, but Murphy isn't 'some players.'
"Bob Gephardt told me Friday morning, I think we were about to play Panama,
and he just said, 'Good luck on Saturday, we took you off the 40 man, and you
cleared waivers.' He didn't give me a reason they took me off, but it
isn't hard to figure out. I haven't pitched that well this season.
You can't let that beat you up, this is a business, it's a numbers game.
The Diamondbacks have a lot of talented young players in their system, and there
are only so many spots on the 40 man. Not everybody is going to get the
call, and I'm not going to let it affect me."
Murphy certainly didn't when he pitched that Saturday. Pitching for
Team USA in Olympic qualifying, Murphy threw a gem, allowing only one run in six
innings, striking out four and picking up the win.
"It's crazy, all these teams want to come out and just kill Team USA," Murphy
says of the qualifying games, "It's just a different brand of baseball, you're
playing small ball all the time."
For Murphy, it was a great start personally, because he understands what he's
"It's a different level of competition, but it's also a different kind of
competition. When you're playing for your country, it really does mean
something. People talk about playing for the name on the front of the
jersey, not the name on the back, and when you're in this type of game, you just
really understand what that means."
It was a dominating start for Murphy, in a year of disappointing ones, but
his 'post season' has had several big time starts, and this was just one.
"I think the one start I had in the AFL, against the Scorpions, that was
probably my best start all season."
That might have been one of the best starts by any pitcher all season.
Playing against a team that quite literally has six of the top 20 prospects in
all of baseball on it Murphy threw six innings of one hit ball, striking out 10.
It was the kind of performance the Diamondbacks were hoping to see on a
consistent basis when they got Murphy in a three way trade with the Dodgers and
Marlins, but the kind that has been few and far between in reality.
Some players, particularly pitchers, have dreaded their time in the AFL.
It's the end of a long season, the opposing lineups are loaded, they are tired,
and the ball travels in the dry desert air, but for Murphy, it was spectacular.
"I think I came out of that league awesome. I only had one or two bad
outings, that last one killed me, but I punched out 40 guys and only walked
four. There wasn't so much something I was doing differently down there
mechanically or anything, I was just attacking the zone early and often.
During the season I'd attack early and then start playing around, nibbling,
trying to get guys to chase pitches. In the AFL I didn't get to 3-2,
because when it's 3-2 it seems like bad things happen. If you attack the
zone, even if a guy gets a hit on the first pitch you throw, you only threw one
pitch, so you know, 'Oh well.' I want to pitch deep into games, and you
don't go deep into games with a whole lot of 3-2 pitches."
For Murphy it was a long, hard season, but his work in the AFL, and on the
Olympic qualifying team, gave it a very good ending. He's back home now,
looking forward to a little golf, but he'll be back up and working before you
"I've got to get ready, I'm already a month and a half behind on my offseason
Murphy will sit and wait until the Rule V draft, and see if he goes, but if
he doesn't, it won't change a thing for him.
"I'll come in the same as last year, ready to pitch, and if I pitch well,
I'll get my shot."