Murphy, one of the team's most diligent players with respect to fitness and this season's projected starting catcher, continues to work out in a variety of ways at home in West Monroe, New York while spring training is suspended, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports. The 29-year-old backstop headed home to the Empire State after the Mariners closed down their Peoria, Arizona spring training facility and continues to work out with the help of a weight room in his basement and outdoor regimens on his expansive property. Murphy did struggle at the plate during Cactus League play -- he hit just .176 (3-for-17) across nine exhibitions -- but he has the full confidence of manager Scott Servais due to his work ethic and the .273/.324/.535 line he generated during his 2019 debut campaign in Seattle. "I think everybody understands who Murph is," Servais said this spring. "Murph's about business, about bringing 100% effort every day. He does all the things you love your catcher to do, because right or wrong everybody is always looking at the catcher. He knows that and welcomes that."
Murphy has enjoyed a strong start to camp as he prepares to serve as the primary catcher this season, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. The veteran is being lauded for his leadership, veteran presence and relationship with the pitching staff, although Murphy still remains somewhat of an unknown quantity as a full-time player since he's never filled such a role over his first five big-league seasons. The 28-year-old does have a reputation for strong work ethic and preparation, with the latter especially important considering Murphy will serve as the battery mate to a pair of promising but raw young arms in Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn this season. At the plate, Murphy will also look to improve his numbers versus right-handed pitchers after slashing just .211/.252/.401 against that handedness in 2019, although Johns notes righty bat Austin Nola, who generated a solid .275/.335/.413 line in same-handed matchups last season, could will draw some of those starts as Murphy's backup during the 2020 campaign.
Murphy will likely serve as the Mariners' primary catcher in 2020 after Omar Narvaez was traded to the Brewers on Thursday, ESPN reports. Murphy saw an increased role for the Mariners in 2019 even while working behind Narvaez, as he managed to appear in 76 games. Over the season, the 28-year-old hit .273/.324/.535 with 18 home runs and 40 RBI. Austin Nola will likely serve as the backup, but Murphy could gain fantasy relevance in deeper leagues in 2020 if he continues to produce.
Murphy went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run in a loss to the White Sox on Friday. Murphy's breakout season at the plate looks like it's on its way to wrapping up in strong fashion, as the backstop now has a trio of multi-hit efforts over the eight games he's suited up for in September. Murphy's career-best .280 average and impressive .555 slugging percentage are largely comprised of his career-high 30 extra-base hits (12 doubles, one triple, 17 home runs), numbers he's generated in his first major-league campaign with more than 100 plate appearances.
Murphy went 1-for-3 with a two-run single in a loss to the Astros on Friday. Murphy opened the scoring on the night with his first-inning single that brought home both Austin Nola and Mallex Smith. The 28-year-old catcher is up to 38 RBI on the season, which adds to a slew of career-best figures that also includes 12 doubles and 17 home runs across 238 plate appearances.