The Braves made a blockbuster trade in back-to-back offseasons with the A’s. Last winter, Matt Olson was acquired to replace Freddie Freeman. And most recently, Oakland shipped Sean Murphy to Atlanta in a three-team trade in which the Braves dealt William Contreras, Manny Piña, and Kyle Muller, among other prospects.
Murphy is undoubtedly an upgrade over Contreras, even if Bill is a fan favorite. The 28-year-old is a top-three player at his position because of his defensive prowess. Murphy’s offensive ability isn’t miles better than Contreras, but his defense is. The tandem of Travis d’Arnaud and Murphy gives the Braves the best catching duo in baseball, and it’s not particularly close.
Murphy is elite in every defensive metric, top five in most, and he slashed .250/.332/.426 last season with the Athletics, totaling 66 RBIs and 18 home runs with a .759 OPS. For a catcher, a position that historically produces poor offensive players, that’s pretty damn good. And to make it even sweeter, the switch to a hitter-friendly Truist Park should do wonders for Murphy.
Sean Murphy career splits:
Oakland Coliseum- .213/.319/.368, 17 HR in 159 G
Everywhere else- .256/.334/.484, 29 HR in 166 G
Atlanta is 15th in HR park factors for RHB last three years. Oakland is 30th during that span. Big boost here for Murphy.
— Frank Stampfl (@Roto_Frank) December 12, 2022
It’s evident playing in the Oakland Coliseum didn’t benefit Murphy. He hit nearly twice as many long balls away from home, and the metrics from 2022 only emphasize that fact.
Last year, Murphy slashed .226/.319/.383 with 7 homers and a .702 OPS at home. On the road, those numbers rose dramatically — .272/.345/.467 with 11 home runs and an .812 OPS. That is more than a 100-point difference in OPS playing away from the Coliseum, which is notoriously unkind to right-handed batters.
Braves Country will surely miss Wild Bill Contreras; he was one of my personal favorites. But Sean Murphy is an upgrade over the little brother of Willson Contreras. The Braves just grabbed a top-three catcher to platoon with a veteran All-Star in Travis d’Arnaud.
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