Braves: This trade is working out for all parties… except one

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Oakland Athletics are one of the worst franchises in sports. It starts at the top and trickles all the way down to the product on the field. They have put together one of the worst overall rosters Major League Baseball has ever seen this year on their way to a 5-18 record and a staggering -102 run differential.

I’m all about rebuilding; sometimes it needs to be done, but Oakland has traded away a number of All-Stars over the last few years, and they basically have nothing to show for it. Not only are they the worst team in baseball, but they also have one of the worst farm systems in the league. They are cheap, and their talent evaluation has been dismal, which is why nobody should be surprised that the returns on the Sean Murphy trade are looking fantastic for everyone involved… except the A’s.

The Braves gave up a lot to acquire Sean Murphy, but he’s been proven to be worth every penny. The 28-year-old has been the best catcher in baseball this April, recording a 1.089 OPS and 187 wrC+, all while playing elite defense behind the plate. Murphy has already racked up 1.5 fWAR, which is tied for the third most in the league.

But you said the Braves gave up a lot? How could Oakland not be satisfied?

Alex Anthopoulos did part ways with an All-Star, but somehow, Williams Contreras landed in Milwaukee, where he’s thrived to begin the season. Only two catchers in the National League have accounted for more than 1.0 WAR this April, and they both have ties to the Braves.

Instead of “settling” for Contreras, the Athletics preferred Esteury Ruiz from the Brewers because they already had options at catcher. Normally, I might understand; but when you’re staring a 5+ year rebuild in the face, all Oakland should be focused on is finding high quality talent. Ruiz is off to an alright start for the A’s, hitting .272 with a .678 OPS, but Contreras is already a proven All-Star, and it’s looking like several more could be in his future.

Meanwhile, the arms the Braves sent to Oakland have been less than inspiring. Kyle Muller, who was the prize of the deal for the A’s, has a 7.23 ERA through five starts. Freddy Tarnok is on the 60-day IL with a shoulder strain, and Royber Salinas is a lottery ticket currently in AA ball.

It’s still far too early to bash the A’s completely, but it blows my mind that a team traded away a bonafide All-Star and most likely didn’t even come out with the second-best player in the deal. There are rumors Oakland could be moving their franchise to Las Vegas in the near future. I feel bad for their fans, but perhaps it is for the best. Those poor people deserve much better.

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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