Rosenthal: Inside the trade for Shaun Murphy with the Braves and the catalyst for the three-team deal

The Oakland A’s wanted two major league-ready position players to catch Sean Murphy. The The brave ones Not trading Van Grissom, who they are grooming to replace free agent Dansby Swanson at shortstop. And A’s are not needed William ContrerasNot after getting another catcher from the Braves, though. Shea LangeliersIn Matt Olson Trading nine months ago.

Effectively, teams have no competition. But on Tuesday, the Braves landed Murphy anyway, parting with six players in a three-team trade. Contreras and minor-league right-hander Justin Yeager went BrewersAdd the reliever Joel Byamps From A. Left handed Kyle Muellercatcher Manny Binaand minor-league rights Freddie Tarnock And Rob Salinas went to the A’s, with Mueller replacing the second baseman. Oakland Unable to get.

According to sources familiar with the discussions, two separate events helped the deal come together. The first Cardinals’ Stepping away from Murphy to sign Contreras’ older brother, Wilson Contreras, a four-year, $87.5 million free agent contract. Second, the Braves expressed interest in sending William Contreras to the Brewers so they could have access to a center fielder. Estuary RuizThe A’s identified Murphy to clubs as a player they wanted.

Ruiz, who turns 24 on February 15, has been part of the Brewers’ comeback Josh Hader At the trade deadline. His visit to Oakland could affect the future Christian talk, another player the A’s acquired in the Olson trade. Ruiz finished the season with a .447 on-base percentage in 541 plate appearances at Double A and Triple A. And he stole 85 bases in 99 attempts. Bases, pickoff and step-off limits, a pitch clock.

Esturi Ruiz (Joe Comporale/USA TODAY Sports)

Why would the Brewers trade such an athlete? In William Contreras, they’re getting a different kind of player, a 2022 All-Star who, while the Braves see him as a bat-first catcher, they hope their coaches can help him improve defensively. Why does the A’s value Ruiz so highly despite his lack of power? Because they love his speed and ability to play centre. Because he improved his contact and walk rate last season. Because they disagreed on a trade with the Cardinals.

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St. Louis Post-DispatchCiting a source, it was reported that the A’s were seeking a return from the Cardinals that included the outfielder Lars NootbarGold Glove-winner Brendan Donovan And a powerful young pitcher like Gordon Gracefo. However, another source about the talks said the A’s wanted Nootbaar or Donovan plus Graceffo. The Cardinals didn’t want to trade any of those players, instead opting to select two of the four-man group with an outfielder. Dylan CarlsonA second baseman Nolan GormanOutfielder Alec Burleson and first baseman Juan Yepes.

When the teams couldn’t reach an agreement, the Cardinals signed Willson Contreras to a contract, losing their second-highest pick in the 2023 draft and $500,000 from the international bonus package, but keeping all of their young talent. The evaluation of the Murphy trade includes an analysis of whether the Cardinals would have been better off trading the 28-year-old Murphy for three years than signing Contreras, who turns 31 on May 13, to the largest contract in club history. Free agent of another club. And the questions don’t end there.

Do the Braves need this deal? Did they give up too much? The answers aren’t immediately apparent, and could change if the Braves sign Murphy to one of their patented long-term extensions. Still, William Contreras, Pina et al Travis d’Arnaud Helped the team produce the highest OPS of any team’s catcher last season. Contreras, who bats right-handed and creates opposite-field power as a left-handed slugger, has five more years under club control.

One of the attractive aspects of this deal is that the Braves are setting a high bar defensively for their catchers and see William Contreras as Wilson, who is adequate behind the plate. Brewers general manager Matt Arnold, on the other hand, Yasmani Crandall And Omar Narvaez became a great defender under the tutelage of Milwaukee’s staff, and he believes William can do the same.

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The rest of Brewers Hall is less intriguing. Byamps, one of two pitchers they acquired, will be assigned by the A’s who need to clear 40-man roster spots. Yeager, along with other pitching additions, was left unprotected by the Braves and went unselected in the recent Rule 5 draft.

Muller, Darnock and Salinas, pitchers who went from Braves to Aces, are highly regarded. Mueller was down the Braves depth chart and likely out of options at the end of the season, but Triple-A. The A’s believe he has nothing to prove in Tarnock, which was also part of the Braves’ 40. -man roster, and the A’s see him as a 100-mph reliever. Salinas, a lottery pick, struck out 175 in 109 innings last season at two positions in A ball.

“Meh,” said an executive from another team that likes Murphy, texted from Oakland, “always no volume but your best two.” As always in the business of baseball, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As for the A’s, it depends on Ruiz.

If the A’s wanted William Contreras, they could have done this deal straight up with the Braves, not including the Brewers. But the A’s began making entertaining offers to Murphy at the trade deadline.

Langeliers is entering his first full season. Tyler Soderstrom, the A’s No. 1 prospect, According to MLB Pipeline, was the team’s first-round pick in 2020 and will end up at first base rather than catcher. Daniel Suzak, the team’s first-rounder and No. 4 prospect in 2022, is further away from the majors, but likely behind the plate.

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Ruiz, meanwhile, could be the long-term solution at center for the A’s, another upper-middle position. He only appeared in three games for the Brewers during a weeklong call-up, but made a strong impact. “He’s really mature,” one Brewers person said. “Billy Hamilton plays fast with an aggressive swing and an idea at the plate. 60 to 70 stolen base type. Impressive in a short time. Not fainting MLB.”

On Monday, he was the catalyst for a three-team, nine-player trade. The A’s think he can be the catalyst for more.

(Top photo by Sean Murphy: G Fume / Getty Images)

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