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Rosenthal: Inside Sean Murphy’s trade to the Braves and the catalyst for a three-team deal

The Athletic

The Oakland A wanted two position players ready for the major league to catch Shaun Murphy. The Brave You were not about to trade von Grissom, who are preparing them to replace free agent Dansby Swanson at shortstop. A was not required William ContrerasNot after getting another catcher from the Braves, Shea LanglersIn the Matt Olson Trade nine months ago.

Effectively, the teams never had a match. But on Tuesday, the Braves landed Murphy anyway, parting ways with six players in a three-team deal. Contreras and right fielder Justin Yeager went to righteousnessalong with the Savior Joel Byamps from U.S. the left Kyle Muellercatcher Manny Peñaand the right holders of the Little League Freddie Trunnock And Rueber Salinas went to zone A, where he replaced Muller, the player of second place Oakland unable to obtain it.

Two separate events helped unite the deal, according to people familiar with the discussions. The first was basics’ He walked away from Murphy to sign Contreras’ older brother, Wilson Contreras, to a four-year, $87.5 million free agent contract. The second is the Braves willingness to send William Contreras to the Brewers so they can get access to a quarterback Esteore Ruiza player that players had identified to the clubs as the player they wanted for Murphy.

Ruiz, who will complete 24 on Feb. 15, was part of the Brewers’ comeback Josh Hader At the trade deadline. His arrival in Auckland could expose a future Christian Patch, another player who received an A in the Olson trade. 447 on-base ratio in 541 plate appearances in Double A and Triple A. He also stole 85 bases in 99 attempts, and should take advantage of the new rules baseball is introducing to boost base stealing in 2023—larger bases, starting and fielding limits, pitch clock.

Esturie Ruiz (Joe Camporiale/USA Today Sports)

Why would brewers trade in such an athlete? Because in William Contreras they’re getting a different kind of athlete, the 2022 All-Star and they’re confident their coaches can help improve their defense, even if the Braves view him as a first bat. Why is Ruiz’s value so high despite his lack of strength? Because they like his speed and his ability to play in the middle. Because he improved his contact and walk rates last season. and because they never agreed to a trade with the Cardinals.

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St. Louis Post-DispatchCiting a source, it was reported that the A’s sought a return from the Cardinals that included an outfielder Lars NotbarGold Glove recipient Brendan Donovan and a tough young shooter as Gordon Grisfo. However, another source who was briefed on the talks said the most wanted are Nootbaar or Donovan plus Graceffo. The Cardinals were unwilling to trade any of these players, instead wanting to select two players from a four-player pool. Dylan Carlsona second baseman Nolan Gormana defensive player Alec Burleson and a first baseman Juan Yepez.

When the teams couldn’t come to an agreement, the Cardinals signed Wilson Contreras, losing their second-highest draft pick in the 2023 draft and $500,000 from their international bonus pool, while keeping all of their young talent. Then, the evaluation of Murphy’s deal will include an analysis of whether the Cardinals would be better off trading three years for Murphy, 28, than signing Contreras, who will complete 31 on May 13, in the largest deal in club history to a free agent from another club. And the questions will not end there.

Was this deal necessary for the brave? Did they give up a lot? The answers won’t be forthcoming, and may change if the Braves sign Murphy to one of their patented long-term stretches. Still, William Contreras, Peña W Travis Darno Helped the team produce the highest game OPS at a catcher of any team last season. Contreras, who bats right-handed but produces power in the opposite field like a left-handed soccer player, is controlled by the club for another five years.

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One great aspect of this deal is that the Braves set a high bar for their catchers defensively and see William Contreras as similar to Willson, just enough behind the plate. On the other hand, Brewers General Manager Matt Arnold noted that Piña, Jasmine Grandal And Omar Narvaez has become better advocates under the tutelage of the Milwaukee crew, suggesting he thinks William can do the same.

The rest of Brewers’ distances are less interesting. Payamps, one of the two pitchers they got, was likely to be recruited by the A’s, who need to clear 40-man roster spots. Yeager, the tip’s other addition, was left unprotected by the Braves and not selected in the last Rule 5 draft.

Müller, Tarnock and Salinas, shooters who went from braves to heroes, are held in high esteem. Mueller was at the bottom of the Braves’ depth chart, likely running out of options at the end of the season, but the A’s thought he had nothing left to prove in Triple A. Tarnok, too, was part of the Braves’ 40-man squad, and the A’s see him as a reliever Potential 100 mph. Salinas, more than a lottery ticket, hit 175 in 109 innings pitched last season on two levels of the ball.

An executive with another team wanting Murphy described the A’s return as, “meh,” saying the messages from Oakland were, “never a size but two of your best.” As always in the baseball trade, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And for A, a lot will depend on Ruiz.

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If the A’s had wanted William Contreras, they could have made this deal directly with the Braves, not including beer. But the A’s only started entertaining Murphy at the trade deadline because they were dealing from a position of strength at catcher.

Langlers is entering its first full season. Tyler Soderstrom, potential No. 1 in the A, According to MLB PipelineHe was the team’s first-round pick in 2020, and could end up at first base instead of catcher. Daniel Susak, the team’s first starter in 2022 and possible No. 4, is far from the majors, but will likely remain behind the plate.

Meanwhile, Ruiz could be the long-term fix for the A’s at center, and another midfield position. He appeared in just three games for the Brewers during a week-long call-up, but made a strong impression. “He’s really mature,” said one person from the Brewers. Billy Hamilton is quick with a big hit and an idea at the plate. 60-70 stolen base type. Impressive at shortstop. Unfazed by MLB. “

On Monday, he was the catalyst for a three-team, nine-player trade. A believes it can be a catalyst for so much more.

(Top photo by Shaun Murphy: G Fiume / Getty Images)