Braves trade away an All-Star, several top prospects for Sean Murphy

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About an hour ago, it was reported by Jeff Passan that Sean Murphy had been traded to the Atlanta Braves from the Oakland A’s.

That was the simple aspect of the deal; the rest came in bits and pieces over the last 60 minutes, but finally, it looks as if we have the entire trade confirmed.

The Braves get Sean Murphy. 

The Brewers receive William Contreras, Justin Yeager, and Joel Payamps

The Athletics get Kyle Muller, Esteury Ruiz, Freddy Tarnok, Royber Salinas, and Manny Piña

There’s a lot to unpack in this deal that I will discuss over the next several days, but here are my initial thoughts regarding the first significant move of the offseason for the Braves.

Most notably, Sean Murphy is an upgrade over William Contreras. I love Wild Bill as much as anyone, but Murphy is a top-three catcher in the game. He’s tremendous defensively and made a substantial leap with the stick in 2022. Pairing Murphy with d’Arnaud gives the Braves undoubtedly the best catching tandem in Major League Baseball. Fans will grow to love him quickly.

From the Brewers perspective, I’m not quite sure how they got involved in this deal and ended up with Contreras. All they gave up was a prospect Esteury Ruiz, and they landed two pitchers and an All-Star catcher in return. That’s highway robbery. It feels like the Braves could have done this deal without giving up Contreras, but I guess Oakland was infatuated with Ruiz, which allowed Milwaukee to take full advantage.

Outside of Contreras, I’m fine with who the Braves parted ways with. I really like the potential of Royber Salinas and Kyle Muller. Freddy Tarnok also has some upside, but who knows when they were going to be ready to contribute at the major-league level. Given the Braves are right in the middle of their championship window, I have no problem with them parting ways with unproven prospects.

Overall, I’m not in love with this move for the Braves because while Murphy is an upgrade over Contreras, how much of one is the question. Catcher was already a strength in Atlanta. Murphy makes them better, but he doesn’t help fix the two biggest holes on the roster — shortstop and left field. Those still must be addressed, and now the Braves don’t really have the resources to facilitate another trade. It will be intriguing to see how Alex Anthopoulos navigates the remainder of the offseason, but if this is the one blockbuster acquisition the Braves make, it will be a disappointment.

Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

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