Things seemed to be going along a bit slowly in baseball’s offseason Hot Stove and then news broke Monday afternoon of the trade of two catchers. First, Sean Murphy of the A’s:
BREAKING: Catcher Sean Murphy has been traded to the Atlanta Braves, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 12, 2022
Hmm, I thought, don’t the Braves already have a couple of pretty good catchers?
They did, and almost at the same time, this deal was announced:
The first thing I noticed in that photo of William Contreras is how much he resembles his older brother Willson. It’s uncanny.
And, as it turns out, this is a three-way deal involving the Braves, Brewers and A’s:
The deal sending Sean Murphy to Atlanta is part of a three-way trade with the Oakland A's and Milwaukee Brewers, sources tell ESPN. One of the players heading to Milwaukee is catcher William Contreras. Oakland is getting catcher Manny Pina.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 12, 2022
This seems odd, on its face — both Murphy and Contreras are very good hitters, though Murphy is the better defender. That might be what the Braves are looking for. Piña, of course, has played for both the Brewers and Braves, though he played for Atlanta in 2022. The A’s must be getting a passel of prospects, I’d think. At this writing there isn’t any word on who those prospects are.
Among other things, this means there will be 14 times the Contreras brothers could play against each other in 2023 as members of the Brewers and Cardinals.
For the Cubs, this takes Murphy off the market, though it didn’t seem likely they were players in that deal anyway. It does point up the need for the Cubs to sign or trade for another catcher to pair with Yan Gomes. P.J. Higgins as Gomes’ backup isn’t going to cut it. Christian Vázquez and Omar Narváez have been mentioned and I’d be fine with either of those guys. It’s clear that Jed Hoyer wants stronger defense behind the plate, which is always a good idea.
Anyway, this is the big baseball news of the afternoon — so far — so thought you’d all like to know about it.