Braves acquire Sean Murphy, Brewers acquire William Contreras in three-team trade

The Braves acquired Catcher Sean Murphy from the A’s, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan. It’s actually a three team trade, per passers-byWith William Contreras go to the brewers and Manny Pina to the A’s. Right-handed pitching prospect Freddy Tarnok will go from Atlanta to Oakland, per FanSided’s Robert Murray. The A’s also become outfielders Esteuri Ruiz from Milwaukee, per murray. Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds that Joel Payamps and Justin Hunter will go to the brewers. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel reported that left-handed Kyle Mueller goes to Oakland. It’s not yet known if this is the full deal or if other players are involved.

This move finally ends a trading saga that has been going on for about a year. After the 2021 season, the A’s leaned hard against a rebuild that saw them traded Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt before opening day, with Frankie Montas be reversed by the deadline of 2022.

Murphy was widely viewed as the next to leave for a number of reasons. First, he just surpassed three years of MLB service in 2022 and will now be earning higher salaries via arbitration. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz predicted that Murphy will hit $3.5 million in 2023 with two more highs before reaching the free hand after 2025. Second, the A’s in the Olson deal in Atlanta were given an excellent catching perspective Shea Langeliers. He’s had a stellar season in Triple-A and has held up well in a 40-game debut with the majors. Given all of these factors, it seemed increasingly likely that the A’s would hand the job over to the Langeliers and trade Murphy for improvements elsewhere in the roster.

With this path, the A’s part with one of the best catchers in the game. Murphy, 28, has played 330 games in the major leagues and excelled in almost every facet of the game. He has hit 46 homers and has a combined batting line of .236/.326/.429. This performance results in a wRC+ of 116, indicating he’s 16% above the league’s average hitter and even further above the average catcher, as they’re generally slightly lower than others. He also made a step forward on the record in 2022, serving in just 20.3% of his record appearances, having previously been over 25% in his career.

Defensively, Murphy also receives rave reviews. As of early 2020, he has recorded 13 defensive runs saved behind the plate, a number that puts him in the top 10 in the league. FanGraphs’ framing metric gives him a 19.5 over the period, the third-highest of its kind. Those all-around contributions have allowed him to rack up 10 wins over backup in those three seasons, second among all MLBs, according to FanGraphs -Catchers with only JT Realmuto in front of him.

There’s more to come.

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