Murphy was the unnamed player general manager Ned Colletti referred to when he said he might be able to upgrade the roster at the Winter Meetings, adding yet another multi-position player after earlier signing Jerry Hairston Jr. and Adam Kennedy.
But Colletti said the trade he thought might happen instead unraveled when the other club satisfied its need elsewhere without trading the player he wanted. That apparently was a reference to the Mets' acquisition of Giants outfielder Andres Torres. It's not clear who the Dodgers would have sent to the Mets, although Tony Gwynn Jr. is also an outfield defensive specialist.
Murphy, 26, is a left-handed hitter who played 155 games in 2009, missed the entire 2010 season with a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee and hit .320 in 109 games in 2011 -- when he played first, second and third base -- only for his season to be cut short by another torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
Interest in Murphy is in keeping with Dodgers strategy this winter to obtain affordable, versatile position players that will provide manager Don Mattingly with flexible lineup options in lieu of a set lineup of everyday players.
The only true proven everyday Dodger at his position at this point is center fielder Matt Kemp. Andre Ethier is the right fielder, but his .563 OPS against left-handed pitching could lead to a platoon. Juan Rivera is the left fielder, but he also could wind up at first base.
James Loney is the first baseman and he is expected to be tendered a contract Monday, but his recent arrest for leaving the scene of an accident has raised concern. There also is concern over his Ethier-like .561 OPS against left-handed pitching. Mark Ellis was signed to start at second base, but the Dodgers are hoping for only 130 games from him to protect his health.
Dee Gordon should be the everyday shortstop, but he has only two months of Major League experience. Juan Uribe is penciled in at third base, but his injuries and lack of production contributed to the signing of utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. and the interest in Murphy. A.J. Ellis has inherited the starting catching job with the departure of Rod Barajas and figures to get the bulk of playing time.
The Dodgers are still interested in signing an experienced right-handed pinch-hitter.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.