The Milwaukee Brewers went out on Monday and got not only their catcher of the future, but a couple pitchers to boot and only had to give up one outfield prospect to do so.
It wasn't one of the Toronto Blue Jays' catching trio or a certain Oakland A's catcher (though he was involved). Instead, the Brewers found their catcher of the future within the National League when one of the Atlanta Braves' catchers surprisingly became available.
That catcher was William Contreras. And as a three-team trade between the Braves, A's, and Brewers started to develop, word finally broke that the 24-year-old now-former Braves catcher would be headed to Milwaukee, as was confirmed by ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Contreras, the brother of former Cub and current Cardinal Willson Contreras, has just 153 games of MLB experience, but was an All-Star for the first time in 2022 for Atlanta. In 97 games played, he slashed .278/.354/.506 with 20 homers and 45 RBIs.
That is far better production than the Brewers were set to head into 2023 with at the position. Omar Narvaez remains a free agent, which left just Victor Caratini, who disappointed offensively in 2022, and a couple unproven commodities in Mario Feliciano and Payton Henry behind him.
In Contreras' place, the Braves acquired potential Brewers trade target Sean Murphy to be their new starting catcher. Meanwhile, former Brewer Manny Pina heads over to Oakland as part of the three-way catcher swap.
The Milwaukee Brewers now have their catcher of the future in William Contreras. But that's not all.
As the trade continued to develop, it was revealed that the Brewers were also receiving a pair of pitchers in the mega deal. Also coming to Milwaukee are right-handers Joel Payamps from Oakland and Justin Yeager from Atlanta, as was reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Payamps is a 28-year-old reliever who has played for four different major league teams already in his career. Despite that, he has a career 3.35 ERA in 82 appearances as well as a 1.292 ERA. He has a four-pitch mix that features a slider, four-seam fastball, sinker, and change up with his two fastballs averaging in the mid 90s for velocity.
Yeager was a 33rd round pick by the Braves in the 2019 draft who hit Double-A for the first time last season. He has a career 3.21 ERA in the minors, all working as a reliever, and is a strikeout machine having compiled a 13.6 K/9 through 94 minor league games.
One of the most surprising aspects of this trade is how little the Brewers had to give up. The only player leaving Milwaukee is outfielder Esteury Ruiz, formerly the No. 8 prospect in the system according to MLB Pipeline. His departure clears room for some of the Crew's other talented young outfielders who likely all have higher ceilings than Ruiz.
Brewers fans had been anxiously awaiting the team to make a big move this offseason. It took a while, but Matt Arnold finally obliged.