Today, the hot stove caught fire. The Atlanta Braves said a reluctant goodbye to their 24-year-old, Mets-trolling, All-Star catcher/DH William Contreras. Despite his many great contributions to the team and his breakout year to the tune of “Narcos,” Contreras was shipped to the Milwaukee Brewers in a three-team deal that sent the primary piece, catcher Sean Murphy of the Oakland Athletics, to Atlanta.
First things first, let’s get this out of the way: Sean Murphy is a top five catcher in baseball. He was third among all catchers in fWAR at 5.1, sixth in catcher framing runs saved with 8.0, eighth in wOBA at .331, seventh in wRC+ at 122, and is in the 96th percentile for pop time.
A true two-way player, Murphy, who won the Gold Glove Award in 2021, will be more than equipped to take over the everyday catching duties for the Atlanta Braves in 2022. He is durable, having logged 267 games over the last two seasons, and is entering his physical prime at 28 years old.
If these stats still don’t make Sean Murphy’s name ring a bell, then perhaps this might jog your memory.
In all seriousness, despite the loss of our beloved Wild Bill and the haul of AAAA and long-shot prospects, the Atlanta Braves undoubtedly improved their roster. You can already imagine the wonders that the superb-framing Murphy will do for the development of guys like Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, and potentially even Bryce Elder.
What Sean Murphy will bring to the Atlanta Braves in 2023 and beyond
With his career figures matching up to his incredibly productive 2022 season, it’s no secret that Murphy is a very consistent player and is extremely likely to maintain his status as a top-five catcher for years to come. The Braves, who are firmly in their window of contention, saw an opportunity to pair Murphy with Travis d’Arnaud to obtain the best catching platoon in baseball and rightfully jumped all over it.
With catchers tending to maintain production into their mid-30s, Murphy, who enters an Atlanta Braves team that has just shed the salary of Manny Piña and currently has four open 40-man roster spots, might be a solid bet to receive an extension. Even if he does not, he still has a very solid three years of control remaining.
There is plenty here to be excited about, and if four open 40-man slots mean anything, it’s that there are ensuing moves to come. Given that Murphy is only set to make a meager $3.3 million dollars in 2023, it’s certainly within reason that the Braves explore a big move in the free-agent market.
Regardless, it’s time to welcome our new catcher in with open arms as we hope to send Murphy to his first all-star game just like we did with Contreras.
And of Contreras, we can only wish him the best. He will rival his brother Willson for NL Central dominance, and he will return to Atlanta to face off against Murphy on Friday, July 28th.