The Atlanta Braves have announced that recently acquired catcher Sean Murphy has received a contract extension that will pay him $73 million through the 2028 season. The new contract also comes with a club option for the 2029 season at $15 million.
The Braves acquired their new catcher from the Oakland A’s on December 12th, in a three-team trade that sent Kyle Muller, Freddy Tarnok, and Manny Pina to Oakland, while the Milwaukee Brewers received fan-favorite William Contreras.
While the catcher position was not necessarily viewed as a spot that needed upgrading entering the offseason, Alex Anthopoulos saw enough value in Murphy to giving up a good player in Contreras, and now investing long-term in Murphy. Much like the trade with Oakland last off-season that landed them first baseman Matt Olson, AA wasted no time in working on an extension for the recently acquired Murphy.
Murphy was under team control until 2026 already when he was acquired, but with this new extension the Braves will buy out at least two of his free agent years. Murphy will make $4 million in the upcoming 2023 season and then go to $9 million in 2024. For the remainder of his contract he will earn a yearly salary of $15 million.
Murphy was second amongst all qualified catchers last year with a 5.1 fWAR and will bring stellar framing, as well as catch and throw ability to the Braves behind the plate for years to come. Last season Murphy posted a slash line of .250/.332/.426, and could very well benefit offensively from not playing half his season in the spacious Oakland Coliseum.
$15 million a year seems like a great deal for the Braves considering the overall value Murphy provides both defensively and offensively. Although Travis d’Arnaud is still on the roster, Murphy figures to get the majority of the defensive responsibilities behind the plate while Travis should see quite a few AB’s as the team DH.
We knew an extension was possible once Murphy was acquired, but after seeing the deal there has to be a lot of excitement for Braves fans as they get a chance to watch one of the best catchers in the game for what looks to be a long time.