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St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox reportedly in the mix for Sean Murphy trade

Sportsnaut
Sportsnaut
 2022-12-05

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Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy is one of the biggest names expected to be moved during the MLB Winter Winter and a blockbuster deal involving the Gold Glove Award winner could be imminent.

Reports surfaced on Sunday that Oakland was getting close to moving one of its best players. The Atlanta Braves were originally viewed as the favorites to land him at the time, but the market has reportedly changed dramatically entering Monday.

According to MLB Network’s Mark Feinsand , the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Guardians, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays are among the teams in the mix. Importantly, the Athletics remain on track to trade Murphy soon.

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Notably, per Feinsand, the Braves have seemingly dropped out of the mix. It’s not a huge surprise, especially with both Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras under contract for the 2023 season. Ultimately, the asking price likely reached a point where Atlanta felt it was too much to pay to address a position that wasn’t a weakness.

Oakland’s motivation for moving one of its best players is obvious. The Athletics are locked into a multi-year rebuild and currently trying to put together a farm system that rapidly declined in recent years.

The 2022 MLB offseason is also the perfect time to move Murphy, with more clubs willing to make moves and his cost elevated because he is under contract through 2025.

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Sean Murphy’s impact on his next team

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Any team that acquires Murphy isn’t expecting the 28-year-old catcher to be an All-Star hitter. Among catchers this past season, he ranked sixth in wRC+ (122), SLG (.332) and finished eighth in OPS (.759).

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Murphy was even worse at the plate in 2021, delivering a .216/.306/.405 slash line with a 25.4% strikeout rate and a 100 wRC+ that made him league average. However, Murphy’s defense can have a significant impact on his next club.

Murphy ranked as the best catcher in Catcher Framing Runs among those who caught at least 3,000 pitches. He also finished ninth in strike rate (49.7%), despite plenty of shakiness from the Athletics’ rotation.

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The 6-foot-3 catcher is also reliable with his arm behind the plate. Murphy finished with the sixth-most caught runners caught stealing (19) during the regular season. Among catchers with 900-plus innings, he allowed the second-fewest steals (42).

We’ve seen the Cardinals, Rays and Red Sox all place an emphasis on defense-first catchers in recent years. Whichever team lands Murphy will have a candidate to win the Gold Glove Award and a leader who the pitching staff trusts to call games and frame the strike zone.

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