The San Diego Padres are well aware of the fact that they need to make some significant improvements to their roster if they want to end up in the NLCS every year. While good catchers are hard to find, that won’t stop A.J. Preller from trying to identify an upgrade.
Austin Nola was perfectly serviceable for most of the year, and Jorge Alfaro had his moments, but San Diego could stand to take advantage of a surprisingly rich trade market for catchers in order to get someone with a bit more long term potential in the mix.
The Oakland Athletics have never let quality performances get in the way of their organizational mission to keep the payroll as low as possible, which could get the Sean Murphy trade rumors started. With top prospect Shea Langeliers on his way, the rebuilding A’s could try to get a deal done.
Both Chicago teams in the White Sox and Cubs have shown interest in Murphy, so the Padres are going to have some serious competition in the race to secure him. Some more trademark Preller aggressiveness can help bring Murphy to San Diego without breaking the bank.
Thos Padres-Athletics trade gets Sean Murphy to San Diego.
Murphy hit .250 with 18 home runs and 66 RBI last year. Considering that he played in a spacious Oakland home ballpark with tons of foul ground, the move to San Diego could actually end up benefitting him offensively. He far exceeds Nola and Alfaro as a hitter.
While losing a Gold Glover center fielder in Grisham would hurt, the Padres will likely not have too hard a time finding someone who can man that spot on a cheaper deal. Losing a young, toolsy outfielder like Zavala could hurt, but he is very far away from the majors at this point.
Wolf does not regularly hit 90 miles per hour despite his 6-7 frame, though Oakland could convert him to a left-handed specialist reliever if his slider stays sharp. Mazur has a tremendous fastball, there are concerns about his control. Only Jackson Merrill should be off-limits in these talks.
If the Braves were able to give up Matt Olson and send Christian Pache to Oakland as the big returning piece, the Padres should be able to acquire Murphy without sending Merrill away. Murphy likely isn’t opening 2023 in Oakland, and sitting back could lead to Murphy ending up elsewhere.