The Braves tonight announced they’ve prolonged catcher Sean Murphy on a six-year, $73MM contract. The deal comes with a $15MM membership possibility for 2029 which doesn’t embrace a buyout. As a part of the deal, Murphy will take house $4MM in 2023, $9MM in 2024, and $15MM in 2025-28. He’ll additionally donate 1% of his wage to the Atlanta Braves Basis. Atlanta had solely acquired the Rowley Sports activities Administration consumer because the headliner of a three-team commerce that included the Brewers and Athletics earlier this month. Murphy was first-year arbitration-eligible going into 2023, so this deal buys out his remaining three years of membership management in addition to probably 4 free agent years.
The transfer continues Atlanta’s latest pattern of extending their core of beginning gamers, and Murphy joins Austin Riley, Matt Olson, Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Spencer Strider and Michael Harris as gamers on the present roster which have obtained long-term extensions whereas nonetheless underneath membership management. That group of gamers can now be managed by Atlanta via 2027, whereas solely Acuna Jr. and Albies have offers that expire earlier than 2029.
The 28-year-old Murphy has established himself as the most effective catchers in all of baseball in latest seasons with Oakland. On the plate, he’s hit 46 house runs and a mixed .236/.326/.429 line throughout elements of 4 massive league seasons. That’s been good for a wRC+ of 116, indicating he’s been 16 % higher than the league common hitter. He took a step ahead on the plate in 2022 as nicely, knocking round 5% off his profession strikeout price and posting a .250/.332/.426 line over 612 plate appearances.
Defensively, he’s posted 12 Defensive Runs Saved since 2020 which locations him within the high ten league vast. Fangraphs framing metric ranks him because the third-best pitch framer within the sport in that very same interval as nicely. That mixture of robust protection and above-average offense has amounted to a profession haul of 10.6 fWAR, with 2022 accounting for five.1 of that tally.
Murphy’s kind, Oakland’s rebuild and a skinny free agent marketplace for catchers made him a type of most hotly talked about commerce chips within the sport going into the low season. Certain sufficient, as many as 9 groups have been related with him within the weeks main as much as his December 12 commerce. It was a superb old style blockbuster as nicely, because the Braves despatched Royber Salinas, Manny Pina, Kyle Muller and Freddy Tarnok to Oakland, and William Contreras and Justin Yeager to the Brewers to finish the deal.
The match with Atlanta wasn’t at all times the obvious match on paper, given the Braves had a powerful catching trio of Travis D’Arnaud, Pina and Contreras on the books shifting ahead. Clearly although, normal supervisor Alex Anthopolous noticed a chance to improve that group and shipped out Pina and Contreras to make room for Murphy.
It’s now the second-successive winter that Atlanta have traded for certainly one of Oakland’s stars and instantly prolonged him. Final low season, they acquired Olson and a day later signed him to an eight-year, $168MM extension. Olson has already established himself as a key a part of the Braves’ core, and now it appears Murphy will do the identical from 2023 onwards.
As talked about earlier, a raft of extensions have established a powerful core in Atlanta. In addition to these, additionally they have Max Fried underneath management via 2024, rookie Vaughn Grissom via 2028, and Kyle Wright via 2026. For a workforce that gained 101 video games in 2022, it’s definitely heartening for Braves followers to know that a lot of that core – and now their largest low season addition – can be round long run.
Per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’ predictions, Murphy was slated to earn $3.5MM in arbitration this season, so he’ll take house solely a $500K increase on that determine for subsequent season. That’s vital for luxurious tax calculations although, which account for a contract’s AAV. In Murphy’s case, that’ll be an AAV of simply over $12MM which pushes the Braves into the primary tier of luxurious tax, regardless of RosterResource estimating their precise payroll sitting at round $198MM presently (the primary luxurious tax threshold is $233MM). In fact, the Braves may look to unload wage to get beneath that mark, but it surely’d solely be a small penalty on any overage at this stage. Additional, they’ll have simply over $50MM value of membership choices (with no buyouts) on Charlie Morton, D’Arnaud, Kirby Yates, Collin McHugh, Orlando Arcia and Eddie Rosario to resolve on subsequent winter, which may comfortably get them again underneath the brink.