We're approaching one month into the 2022-23 MLB offseason and much of the buzz around the Milwaukee Brewers has been about who they might give up (and in some cases who they already have). Not enough of it has surrounded who they might acquire.
And acquire people they will, not just because that's what always happens during Brewers offseasons, but because they have opportunities in the roster that still need to be addressed. One of those roster opportunities is at the catcher position.
Gone to free agency is Omar Narvaez, who in three years with Milwaukee sandwiched an All-Star year between two disappointing offensive seasons. Remaining are Victor Caratini, who was equally disappointing on offense in 2022, and the young, unproven trio of Mario Feliciano, Alex Jackson, and Payton Henry.
The free agent market at catcher contains some options, such as possible Brewers target Christian Vazquez, but seeking out a trade could be a better option. Luckily, there's a team in the American League (not the Blue Jays this time) with talent at the position who seems to love making trades.
Let's look at a possible Brewers trade target: Oakland A's catcher Sean Murphy.
28-year-old Sean Murphy was a 3rd round pick of the Oakland A's back in the 2016 MLB draft. After quickly working his way up the ranks, he made his MLB debut during the 2019 season, hitting a home run in just his second game as a big leaguer.
Murphy has been generally solid in his four MLB seasons thus far, slashing a combined .236/.326/.429 and putting up an OPS of 120+ in three of his four seasons (his other one still wasn't bad, finishing just shy of league average at 98).
Murphy has shown decent pop in recent seasons, hitting 17 and 18 homers in 2021 and 2022, respectively. And his well-rounded approach gave him a 4th place finish in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2020, a Gold Glove award at catcher in 2021, and even an AL MVP vote in 2022.
And one of the best parts is the years of control remaining. The Brewers would have control of Murphy for three years with him projected to make $3.5MM in his first arbitration year according to MLB Trade Rumors.
Trade rumors surrounding Murphy started up during last summer's trade deadline, per this piece from A's MLB.com beat writer Martin Gallegos, and they continued into the offseason. Oakland is deep at the catcher position, so the rumors only make sense.
But a catcher who can bring both offense and defense and has multiple years of control won't come cheap. The Brewers would likely have to give up a couple prospects, but that might be worth it to solidify the position for the foreseeable future. Luckily, the A's have been willing to move some of their MLB talent to stockpile young players, so perhaps a match could be in the cards.
Catcher is arguably the weakest current position for the Brewers heading into 2023, so upgrading there should be a priority. A trade with the A's could provide the remedy for that issue.