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MLB Insider: Grading the Braves, Brewers, A’s blockbuster Sean Murphy trade

Grading the Braves, Brewers, A’s blockbuster Sean Murphy trade.

The expectation entering the Winter Meetings was that the Oakland A’s would trade star catcher Sean Murphy at some point this offseason. There were numerous teams interested, including the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers, though the asking price was said to be substantial.

On Monday afternoon, the Braves acquired Murphy from the A’s in a three-team blockbuster trade … and at first glance, it didn’t cost Atlanta what many executives throughout the league anticipated. Said one executive: “That seems light. Are we sure there isn’t more in the deal?”

Here’s the full deal:

Braves acquire Sean Murphy.

Brewers acquire William Contreras, Joel Payamps, Justin Yeager.

A’s acquire Kyle Muller, Esteury Ruiz, Freddy Tarnok, Robber Salinas and Manny Pina.

Atlanta Braves

Murphy, 28, was the best catching option on the free-agent and trade markets this offseason. Since 2020, he’s posted 13 Defensive Runs Saved, which ranks in the top-10 in baseball, and has an emerging offensive game as he’s slashed .236/.326/.429 with 46 home runs in 330 career games.

It’s the second blockbuster trade that the Braves and A’s have completed in as many seasons, as Atlanta acquired — and extended — Matt Olson last offseason to replace Freddie Freeman. Murphy is signed in 2026, however, and is scheduled to earn just $3.5 million this season, which gives general manager Alex Anthopoulos additional flexibility to upgrade his roster in future offseasons.

On paper, the Braves weren’t an obvious fit considering that they had Contreras, Pina and Travis d’arnaud. Internally, Anthopoulos viewed Murphy as an emerging catcher with elite upside and when a deal to acquire him presented itself, Anthopoulos struck, and cleared out his catching logjam in the process.

Grade: B+.

Milwaukee Brewers

“That’s a great pickup for the Brewers. That kid can hit. If he plays 140 games and DH some, he hits 35 homers and probably like .280. Legit bat,” one rival executive said of Contreras.

Getting Contreras, a player that the Brewers were “really high” on, for only Esteury Ruiz was considered a coup. Contreras immediately solves their long-term catching position and while he’s more known for his offense than his defense, the Brewers — led by minor-league instructor Charlie Greene — are known as an organization who can get the most out of catchers defensively.

One additional note: the Brewers have been open to trading Ruiz dating back to last seasons trade deadline, even after acquiring him for All-Star closer Josh Hader. Ruiz was once again made available this offseason and netted the Brewers their long-term catcher and two relievers, a deal that is being praised by opposing teams.

Grade: A-

Oakland A’s

The A’s reportedly prioritized major-league experience in a Murphy deal and accomplished that. Muller, 25, has pitched 49 innings in the last two seasons. Ruiz has played in only 17 games in the majors, but possesses elite upside, and a bat that has hit .332/.447/.526 with 85 stolen bases in 114 minor-league games. Tarnok, who ranked among the Braves top-10 prospects, has pitched only 2/3 of an inning in the majors.

Still, while the trade accomplished what the A’s wanted, it left a lot to be desired. Rivals were confused by the haul — “That’s it?” said one scout — and thought it would feature more high-end talent.

The deal, however, does come with upside. Especially Salinas. The 21-year-old struck out 175 batters in 109 innings in Single-A last season and if he can improve upon his command, has a shot to be an impact arm in the future for the A’s.

Don’t get me wrong. The A’s got talent in this deal and are continuing to build toward the future. I just would have liked to have seen more of it.

Grade: C

 

Denise T. Jones

Denise T. Jones is a passionate sports enthusiast with a knack for capturing the electrifying essence of the sporting world. As a dedicated sports news writer for AccessTV.co, Denise brings her unparalleled love for sports and her adept storytelling skills to deliver captivating and insightful content to readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of various sports disciplines, Denise ensures that her articles provide comprehensive coverage of the latest events, matches, and developments in the sports realm. Whether it's the thrill of the game-winning goal, the drama of a nail-biting finish, or the heartwarming stories of triumph against all odds, Denise encapsulates it all with eloquence and precision. Denise's journey in sports journalism has been marked by her unwavering commitment to accuracy, integrity, and excellence. Her ability to blend statistical analysis with compelling narratives sets her apart as a trusted voice in the industry. From the adrenaline-pumping action on the field to the strategic maneuvers off it, Denise brings every aspect of the sporting world to life through her writing. With a finger on the pulse of the sports scene, Denise T. Jones continues to inspire and inform readers with her dynamic and engaging sports coverage on AccessTV.co.

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