The Atlanta Braves landed Sean Murphy on Monday. At one point this offseason that seemed like a lock, but at other points it seemed unlikely.
So, what happened?
Heading into last week’s Winter Meetings, a report from MLB.com indicated the Braves were the frontrunner to acquire the catcher from the Oakland Athletics. That report got shot down not long after, only for the Braves to turn around just over a week later and land the catcher in a three-team deal that included the Brewers.
"We had heard that Sean Murphy was potentially going to get traded, he was available, so we checked in with Oakland at the beginning of the offseason,” Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Tuesday in an interview with “The Steakhouse” on 92.9 The Game. “They told us ‘Look, for us to consider a trade with you guys you would need these guys as centerpieces of the deal.’
“We understood it was going to be expensive, but what they had floated was just not something that was going to work for us. So I said I appreciate you giving us a sense, probably not going to work, and that was the end of it. Didn’t have any more conversations, that was the end of it.
“And then before the Winter Meetings the story breaks that he's about to get traded and we’re the frontrunners and I’m like man, I haven’t talked to these guys in weeks since we checked in. That was obviously shot down.”
The catcher market then saw some movement during the Winter Meetings, most notably with Willson Contreras leaving the Cubs to sign with the Cardinals.
Just a few days later, Anthopoulos said, things got moving again. The end result was a megadeal, with the Braves landing Murphy. The Brewers got William Contreras, Joel Payamps and Justin Yeager, while the A’s got Kyle Muller, Esteury Ruiz, Freddy Tarnok, Royber Salinas and Manny Piña.
“I know there was a lot written about (the A’s) talking to the Cardinals, and I don’t want to speak for them, but clearly there was a lot of discussion there," Anthopoulos said. "Once the Cardinals signed Contreras at the Winter Meetings, my guess is that things changed.
“Because really this past Saturday all of the sudden, even though we didn’t have a direct fit to get Sean Murphy so we didn’t think we’d be in play for him, we got word that there was a fit in a three-way if we could get Ruiz from the Brewers. So once we were told that, we worked on it Saturday, Sunday into Monday afternoon and we finally got the deal done.”
Murphy is a great player. He’s a sound defensive catcher and has the ability to hit for power. The Braves clearly had him on the radar for a while, but it wasn’t until just a few days ago that the price fell to where Anthopoulos was comfortable making the move.
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