Sean Murphy is a nearly perfect trade target for the Cleveland Guardians

Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
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Guardians Trade Target: Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy seems like a nearly perfect fit for the Guardians to pursue this offseason. He fits perfectly into what the Guardians are building. He is a Gold Glove-caliber catcher, having won the award in 2021. And he reduced his strikeout rate by 6.6% in 2022 on his way to hitting .250 with 18 home runs and 66 RBI. Thus, he would fit well with the Guardians’ high-contact approach, and provide an enormous upgrade over Hedges and Maile offensively. At 27 years old, he is entering his prime and should be expected to maintain this level of production for another 3-4 years.

Payroll considerations may take the Guardians out of the running for free agent upgrades such as Willson Contreras. However, even as Murphy enters arbitration, his salary is only projected to increase to $3.5 million, which amazingly actually makes him a cost-saving option in relation to what Cleveland paid Hedges last year.

The A’s went 60-102 last year, and are clearly in rebuilding mode. They are not likely to compete in at least the next 1-2 years, so by the time they are able to field a competitive roster, Murphy will be significantly more expensive, and close to 30 years old. Between their own propensity for trading players as they approach free agency, and the likelihood of catchers declining once they pass 30 years old, it would make sense for them to maximize the prospect return by trading him now, at a lower financial cost and with more years of control remaining than to wait until he is closer to becoming a free agent.