Braves sign Sean Murphy to six-year extension

brave tonight announced they raise the catcher sean murphy On a six-year, $73MM contract. The deal comes with a $15MM club option for 2029 that does not include the buyout. As part of the deal, Murphy will take home $4MM in 2023, $9MM in 2024, and $15MM in 2025-28. He will also donate 1% of his salary to the Atlanta Braves Foundation. Atlanta only acquired a Rowley Sports Management client as the headliner of a three-team trade that included the Brewers and Athletics earlier this month. Murphy was arbitration-eligible the first year in 2023, so the deal buys him three remaining years of club control, as well as potentially four free agent years.

The move continues Atlanta’s recent trend of expanding its core of starting players, and Murphy joins Austin Riley, Matt Olson, Ronald Acuna Jr., ozzy albies, spencer stryder And Michael Harris As players on the current roster who have received long-term extensions while still under club control. That group of players can now be controlled by Atlanta through 2027, while only Acuña Jr. and the Albies have deals that expire before 2029.

Murphy, 28, has established himself in recent seasons with Oakland as one of the best catchers in all of baseball. At the plate, he has hit 46 home runs and a combined .236/.326/.429 line over parts of four big league seasons. That’s been good for a wRC+ of 116, indicating he’s 16 percent better than the league average hitter. He also took a step forward at the plate in 2022, posting a nearly 5% drop from his career strikeout rate and posting a .250/.332/.426 line over 612 plate appearances.

Defensively, he has posted 12 defensive runs saved since 2020 which places him in the top ten league wide. Fangraphs’ framing metrics also ranked him as the third best pitch framer in the game during the same period. The combination of strong defense and above-average offense amounted to a career high 10.6 fWAR, with 2022 accounting for 5.1 of that tally.

Murphy’s form, Oakland’s rebuild and a slim free agent market for catchers made him one of the most talked about trade chips in the game going into the off-season. Sure enough, nine teams were linked to him in the weeks leading up to his December 12 trade. It was also an old-fashioned blockbuster, as the Braves sent royber salinas, Manny Pina, Kyle Mueller And Freddy Tarnock to Oakland, and William Contreras And justin yeager Brewers to complete the deal.

The matchup with Atlanta wasn’t always the most obvious fit on paper, given that the Braves had a strong catching trio of Travis D’Arnaud, Piña and Contreras on the books going forward. Clearly though, general manager Alex Anthopoulos saw an opportunity to upgrade that group and sent off Piña and Contreras to make room for Murphy.

This is now the second consecutive winter that Atlanta traded for one of Oakland’s stars and immediately extended it. Last off-season, they acquired Olsson and signed him to an eight-year, $168MM extension a day later. Olson has already established himself as a vital part of the Braves’ core, and now it looks like Murphy will do the same through 2023.

As previously mentioned, a bunch of expansions have established a strong core in Atlanta. also they have max fried Cheaters in control till 2024 von grissom through 2028, and kyle wright through 2026. For a team looking to win 101 games in 2022, it’s certainly heartening for Braves fans to know that core — and now their biggest off-season addition — will be long term.

According to MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s predictions, Murphy was expected to earn $3.5MM in arbitration this season, so he’ll only increase by $500K on that figure for next season. However, it is important for computing luxury tax, which is attributable to the AAV of the contract. In Murphy’s case, it would be an AAV of just over $12MM, pushing the Braves into the first leg of the luxury tax, while RosterResource estimates his actual payroll currently sitting at around $198MM (the first luxury tax threshold at $233MM Is). Of course, the Braves could look to reduce salary to get below that mark, but that would only be a small penalty on any overage at this stage. In addition, he will have club options (without a buyout) worth $50MM. charlie mortonD Arnaud, kirby yates, Colin McHugh, Orlando Arcia And Eddie Rosario Next winter to decide who can comfortably get them back under the threshold.

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