Braves sign new C Sean Murphy to $73 million, 6-year deal

Dec 27, 2022, 6:21 AM | Updated: Dec 28, 2022, 8:01 am

FILE - Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy, left, tries to tag Chicago White Sox's Adam Engel (15...

FILE - Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy, left, tries to tag Chicago White Sox's Adam Engel (15), who scored the tying run during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Sept. 9, 2022. The Atlanta Braves acquired catcher Murphy from the Oakland Athletics as part of a three-team deal on Monday, Dec. 12, 2022, that also sent catcher William Contreras to the Milwaukee Brewers. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)

(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves signed newly acquired catcher Sean Murphy to a $73 million, six-year contract, locking up another key player with a long-term deal.

The contract signed Tuesday includes a $15 million club option for 2029 with no buyout that could raise the total value of the agreement to $88 million.

Murphy will make $4 million in 2023, $9 million in 2024 and $15 million each season from 2025 through 2028. He agreed to donate 1% of his annual salary to the Atlanta Braves Foundation.

After the uncertainty of playing with the low-budget Oakland Athletics for the past four seasons, Murphy is looking forward to putting down roots in Atlanta with a team that has won five straight NL East titles and captured the World Series championship in 2021.

“My wife is looking forward to having a spot where she feels comfortable, at least for a while,” Murphy said. “That’s important to us.”

The deal follows a familiar pattern of the Braves agreeing to new contracts with players who are still under club control for an extended period. Over the past year, they reached long-term deals with sluggers Austin Riley and Matt Olson, as well as rookie stars Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider.

Atlanta previously signed outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. and second baseman Ozzie Albies to similar pacts, ensuring that seven core players are under contract for at least three more seasons — and often much longer — with club options that could extend the deals even more.

“It’s an honor to be included in that mix,” Murphy said. “Going forward, I can’t see this team being anything but great over the next several years.”

The 28-year-old Murphy was acquired from the Athletics shortly after the winter meetings in a three-team deal that also included the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Braves sent All-Star catcher William Contreras and minor league pitcher Justin Yeager to the Brewers, while backup catcher Manny Piña and pitching prospects Kyle Muller, Freddy Tarnok and Royber Salinas went to Oakland.

Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged paying a heavy price but said it was worth the cost to acquire one of the game’s top catchers.

Murphy was heading into his first year of arbitration and wouldn’t have been eligible for free agency until 2026.

But the Braves, as they’ve done with so many of their top players, wanted to secure him for even longer.

Anthopoulos, a native of Montreal who grew up cheering for the Expos before they moved to Washington, remembers being frustrated at having so many of his favorite players traded away or leaving as free agents.

“I’m sure there’s a little part of me that knows what it’s like to see good young players traded away or they couldn’t keep them,” Anthopoulos said. “So I think there’s a small part of me that feels like from a fan-base standpoint, it’s important that if you’re going to buy a jersey they’re going to be here a while.”

Murphy batted .250 with 18 homers, 66 RBIs and a .759 OPS in 148 games this past season. He is regarded as an elite defender, winning a Gold Glove in 2021.

Murphy is expected to share playing time behind the plate with Travis d’Arnaud, a player with similar offensive and defensive strengths. Those two also are expected to get extensive time at designated hitter, with the idea of keeping them as fresh as possible over the long season.

The acquisition of Murphy has been the biggest offseason move for the Braves, who also added depth in their bullpen with a trade for former All-Star reliever Joe Jiménez.

But for the second year in a row, one of the team’s most popular and productive players left in free agency.

One year after first baseman Freddie Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, longtime Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson finalized a $177 million, seven-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.

Even with Swanson leaving, the Braves are expected to be over the $233 luxury tax threshold in 2023. Anthopoulos said it won’t be a significant amount and shouldn’t hinder another trade or signing to fill out the roster.

Vaughn Grissom and Orlando Arcia are the contenders to be Swanson’s replacement unless the Braves make a move to bring in another shortstop before opening day.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Braves sign new C Sean Murphy to $73 million, 6-year deal