The Atlanta Braves have signed another key player to a long-term contract.
After landing catcher Sean Murphy in a three-team deal in early December, the Braves announced the Gold Glove winner has agreed to a six-year, $73 million contract.
The deal includes a $15 million club option for the 2029 season. Murphy will earn $4 million in the upcoming 2023 season.
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In 2024, his salary will increase to $9 million. From 2025 to 2028, the catcher will earn $15 million. He has already pledged to donate 1% of his annual earnings to the Atlanta Braves Foundation.
Murphy spent the last four years in Oakland with the A’s, a team that lost more than 100 games last season. He joins a Braves team that won more than 100 games in 2022 and has claimed the NL East title five straight times.
The Braves won the World Series in 2021. Murphy said he hopes to establish himself on the East Coast.
«My wife hopes to have a place where she feels comfortable, at least for a while,» Murphy said. «That’s important to us.»
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In recent years, the Braves organization has made it a priority to agree new contracts with players who are still under the club’s control for an extended period. Over the past year, they’ve struck long-term deals with Austin Riley and Matt Olson, as well as rookie stars Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider.
Harris received Rookie of the Year honors for November, while Strider received the second-most votes.
Atlanta previously signed outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and second baseman Ozzie Albies to similar deals, ensuring seven top players are under contract for at least three more seasons, and often much longer, with club options that could extend deals further. .
«It’s an honor to be included in that mix,» Murphy said. «Going forward, I can’t see this team being anything but great in the years to come.»
The Braves sent All-Star catcher William Contreras and minor league pitcher Justin Yeager to the Brewers, while backup catcher Manny Pina and pitching prospects Kyle Muller, Freddy Tarnok and Royber Salinas went to Oakland for services. from Murphy.
Murphy was heading into his first year of arbitration and would not have been eligible for free agency until 2026.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos was born in Montreal and said he remembers what it was like when a player he liked left.
«I’m sure there’s a small part of me that knows what it’s like to see good young players traded, or 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 for a while.»
Murphy hit .250 with 18 home runs, 66 RBIs and a .759 OPS in 148 games last season. His defensive skills earned him a Gold Glove in 2021.
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Murphy is expected to share playing time behind the plate with veteran Travis d’Arnaud. Contreras and d’Arnaud were able to stay relatively fresh last season by sharing designated hitting and catching duties last season. The Braves are likely to expect similar workloads for d’Arnaud and Murphy in 2023.
One of Atlanta’s most popular and productive players has gone into free agency for the second year in a row. Last year, former National League MVP and fan favorite Freddie Freeman left for his native California and signed a long-term deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This month, metro Atlanta native Dansby Swanson signed a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. Swanson was coming off the best season of his career, playing in all 162 games in 2022.
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Vaughn Grissom, who was recalled to the major league club during the season to fill in for an injured Albies at second base, is the leading candidate to replace Swanson at shortstop. Infielder Orlando Arcia is also an option.
Associated Press contributed to this report.