Despite being pretty set behind the plate, the Atlanta Braves are reportedly the frontrunners to acquire catcher Sean Murphy from Oakland.
Plot twist! After reporting that the Braves were the frontrunners to acquire Murphy, Feinsand walked his report back. Instead of Atlanta, the Cardinals, Rays, Guardians, and Red Sox are in the mix to acquire the Gold Glove winner.
Had the Cardinals missed out on Murphy, a backup option would have been to look at former Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. That could still be an option even after acquiring Murphy, but Contreras could emerge as a backup option for the other teams that miss out on a potential deal with the A’s.
St. Louis has been most closely linked to Contreras, but the Red Sox could mend some bridges with frustrated fans if they spend on a top free agent catcher.
[Original Story begins here]
While the A’s might not be playing Oakland much longer, Gold Glove catcher Sean Murphy’s time is going to be up more immediately.
According to MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand, the A’s are getting close to trading their starting catcher but that’s not the most surprising detail of the rumor.
It turns out the destination for Murphy is expected to be Atlanta, despite the Braves being seemingly set behind the plate.
Let that one sink in for a moment.
Even with depth at the position, such a thing apparently isn’t going to stop the Braves from playing the role of the rich getting richer and making a move to acquire Muprhy at the Winter Meetings.
“The Athletics appear to be getting close to a trade of catcher Sean Murphy, per source. The Braves are considered the frontrunners to acquire the former Gold Glove winner, though other teams remain in the mix,” Feinsand reported on Sunday.
It’s a curious move for the Braves, who already have Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras behind the plate, providing one of the better catching duos in baseball. Adding Murphy doesn’t necessarily mean that one of them will be gone but it could turn either into attractive trade chips for the Braves to add talent elsewhere in the lineup.
From a salary standpoint, Murphy provides the best long-term upside. He’s under contract through the 2026 season, where d’Arnaud is under team control through 2025 and Contreras is an unrestricted free agent after this upcoming season.
One scenario the Braves could go with is to have all three catchers on the 40-man roster in 2023 and see where the chips fall. Having three great options both behind the plate and in the lineup seems to be a good idea, and there’s always the possibility of flipping one of them ahead of the trade deadline in the middle of the summer.