The catcher position is among the most controversial positions on the Cleveland Guardians roster this season. Whether it’s Austin Hedges, Luke Maile, or whoever may be at the plate, the batting inconsistencies have held this team back.
But that could all change if Cleveland lands Oakland A’s star catcher Sean Murphy.
Murphy has been a consistent catcher since entering the majors and has flat-out been dominant on the fielding side of his game.
This past offseason, the A’s went on a major sell-off and traded away first baseman Matt Olsen in exchange for young catching prospect Shea Langeliers.
To put it in simple terms, Langeliers has been excellent this season.
He’s hit 19 home runs and has slashed .280/.363/.529 for a wRC+ of 118 in Triple-A, so the future looks bright for the young prospect.
That being said, the option for the A’s to move on from Murphy and still have a promising catcher is available. Moving on from Murphy, and giving Langeliers the keys to the starting catcher job, allows them to improve elsewhere on the roster.
With the Guardians being a team interested in improving their catcher position at the trade deadline, it’s no shock that it was reported they have had trade discussions with the A’s centered on Murphy.
The Guardians are also a team that is built around keeping a low payroll, and Murphy is a star player that can still keep that in place. He will not reach arbitration for the first time until this winter, and his 2022 base salary sits at a measly $725,000.
Not only is the contract situation a better fit for Cleveland, but they also get an exponential upgrade on the offensive side of things.
Looking at Cleveland’s catchers, Maile is slashing .192/.299/.273 while Hedges, who has gotten a sizable amount of playing time this season, is slashing .172/.235/.278.
Hedges has just 32 hits and 20 RBIs through 182 at-bats, while Maile has just 19 hits and six RBIs through 99 at-bats.
In comparison, Murphy is slashing .241/.317/.428 to go alongside 80 hits, 12 home runs, and 41 RBIs in 336 at-bats, a drastic difference from the Cleveland catchers.
What would the Guardians have to give up to secure Sean Murphy?
Most likely, the front office for Cleveland would have to part ways with Hedges to give the A’s a catcher to replace the loss of Murphy if Langeliers is not yet MLB-ready.
Alongside Hedges, Cleveland would have to give up a few high-end prospects, most likely at least one or two that are inside the MLB Pipeline top 100 list.
A smart move for Cleveland would also be to try to dump off Franmil Reyes in this exchange to pave way for remaining prospects to have a shot in the majors.
While the asking price may be high for the A’s to lose such a phenomenal player, the 52-49 Guardians are on the brink of something special in The Land.
Bringing in a piece like Sean Murphy is something Cleveland should not pass up on if the opportunity presents itself.