Brewers bolster the offense with a new backstop
Shortly after the Braves acquired Sean Murphy from the Athletics via trade, Jeff Passan of ESPN confirmed it was part of a three-way trade. The third team involved was revealed to be the Milwaukee Brewers. Below is a breakdown of the current trade details:
- Atlanta Braves: C Sean Murphy
- Oakland Athletics: C Manny Piña, OF Esteury Ruiz, RHP Freddy Tarnok, LHP Kyle Muller
- Milwaukee Brewers: C William Contreras, RHP Justin Yeager, RHP Joel Payamps
The three-way swap of catchers comes shortly after the St. Louis Cardinals signed Willson Contreras to a 5-year, $87.5 million deal. Contreras headlined a weak free agent class for catchers, which fueled rumors of Sean Murphy becoming available. The Athletics originally set the bar too high for Murphy which eventually opened the door for Contreras to sign with the Cardinals.
The deal sending Sean Murphy to Atlanta is part of a three-way trade with the Oakland A's and Milwaukee Brewers, sources tell ESPN. One of the players heading to Milwaukee is catcher William Contreras. Oakland is getting catcher Manny Pina.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 12, 2022
The Athletics announced that they were listening to calls regarding the young catcher recently. The Brewers were never implicated in advanced discussions, but Murphy was never completely out of the question. In the end, the Brewers saw Willson Contreras stay in the division, and reunited him with his younger brother, William.
How will the Brewers benefit from this trade?
William Contreras will turn 25 before entering his fourth MLB season. Contreras was primarily used as a designated hitter for the Braves in 2022, where he saw his first All-Star appearance. In 2022, Contreras slashed .278/.354/.506 with 20 homers and 45 RBIs. Along with this, Contreras also hit 16 homers off of fastballs and ranked in the 91st percentile for barrels and max exit velocity across the league.
Contreras has struggled behind the plate ranking in the lower percentiles for pop speed and framing. He is not a pitcher friendly catcher, which factored into his move to a role as a designated hitter. The Brewers need help on offense and Contreras can launch baseballs. Batting at the bottom of a stacked lineup will result in limited chances to drive in runs, which factors into Contreras’ low RBI total. However, he only recorded one home run that couldn’t clear every left field fence.
Given his age and raw hitting ability, Contreras still has the potential to develop into a well rounded catcher.