The Red Sox might not have a place for outfielder David Murphy on the Opening Day roster. That might be their only chance to get have him in the organization, though, as WEEI's John Tomase has reported that Murphy is "unlikely" to accept a minor-league assignment, and would instead considering retiring rather than play there again.
Now, Murphy isn't saying he's definitely going to retire, or that he won't attempt to latch on with another club if he has to opt-out of his Red Sox deal or refuse a minor-league assignment. It's just an option on the table if a job in the bigs isn't there for him somewhere. It's hard to blame him for this, either: as Tomase points out, Murphy is 34, he has children, and was drafted back in 2003. He has a World Series ring for his role on the 2007 Sox, and a return to the minors isn't a life anyone in their 30s makes if they don't have to.
It's entirely possible that the Sox decide to put Rusney Castillo in the minors again until he can prove he's fixed some of his issues with health and velocity, and instead use a platoon of Murphy and Chris Young in left field to begin the season. "Possible" does not mean it's going to happen, though, as Castillo needs time in the majors to prove he is or is not a starting big-league outfielder. The Sox need to know, sooner than later, if Castillo (and similarly, Jackie Bradley Jr.) is a permanent fixture or just keeping the left field seat warm for someone else.
Murphy must decide if he's sticking with the Red Sox on Sunday, when his opt-out comes up. The Sox will likely let him know then if he's going to make the big-league roster, but even if the situation is still fluid and Murphy avoids his opt-out, he can also refuse his minor-league assignment when the time comes. Given he's talking about this openly with reporters, you get the sense that at this point, this is all up to Boston and whether they option Castillo to Triple-A to start 2016 or not.
It would be a great move for depth, and probably for the floor of production in left, but the ceiling of a Murphy/Young platoon is lower than that of Castillo on his own, who has shown flashes of being a much better player than the sum of his time in the pros has suggested. We'll know soon enough just which direction the Sox are going in, as baseball that counts is just two weeks away. At least there are actual roster questions to be answered this late in the game -- that's something to hold onto in mid-March.