This continues my three-part series focusing on Braves players most likely to sign contract extensions with the team in the near future. If you missed the first part of this series, follow the link below.
Sean Murphy Contract Extension
A contract extension feels like it has to get done after the Braves gave up so much to acquire him. He still has three years left on his deal, so there’s no need for one in the immediate future, but I think Alex Anthopoulos will be antsy to get one done, just like he was with Matt Olson a year ago.
Murphy is projected to earn just over $3 million for 2023. If he continues to play at the level he did in 2022, we can assume that number will be closer to $10 million in 2024 and in the $15-20 million range for his final year of arbitration. Anthopoulos will attempt to buy out all of those years, and given Murphy will be 30-years-old by the time his contract up, adding four to five more years to his deals seems about right. For the purpose of this piece, let’s follow the same path as Matt Olson, who inked an eight-year extension days after he was traded to Atlanta.
A good contract comparison for Murphy is JT Realmuto, who agreed to a five-year, $115 million contract to stay in Philadelphia as a free agent. That’s slightly north of $22 million per season. Because Murphy is less proven than Realmuto at the time he signed his deal and Anthopoulos will be buying out the final three years of his contract, we can expect Murphy’s extension to have a lower AAV, but not by much, given the current free agent market.
From the Braves perspective, I think an eight-year contract extension would be a little overzealous. I would be much more comfortable with something in the six to seven-year range, but if they went with eight, they could probably get away with offering slightly less AAV and ensure they are set at the catcher position for the better part of the next decade.
Contract Extension Prediction: 8 years, $145 million
Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire
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