Even a 12-4 Opening Day win can’t keep Jerry Dipoto off of the phones. The fourth-year GM made the79th trade of his Mariners tenure in the early morning to secure a much-needed backup catcher.
UPDATE: Greg Johns of MLB.com has confirmed the deal. The Mariners will be sending 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Jesus Ozoria to the Giants. Ozoria was an All-Star in the Dominican Summer League last year, starting five of his 14 appearances to the tune of a 2.19 ERA.
When the trade becomes official, the Mariners will finally have the league-standard three catchers on their 40-man roster. Murphy is out of minor league options, which means David Freitas is likely on his way to Triple-A Tacoma.
Prior to his MLB debut in 2015, Murphy was regarded as one of the best catching prospects in baseball. The 27-year-old hasn’t seen much time at the Major League level, however, sporting a career-high of just 96 plate appearances in 2018 for the Rockies.
The Giants claimed Murphy when the Rockies waived him back on March 24. He failed to make San Francisco’s 25-man roster for Opening Day, thus prompting the Giants to ship him elsewhere or waive him.
Murphy is a career .219/.271/.439 hitter in 210 total plate appearances, though that spans over the course of four seasons. That’s… not really a whole lot to go off of.
What we can work with are his numbers in the minor leagues, which have been spectacular on a yearly basis. Last year, Murphy slashed .258/.333/.568 with 17 home runs and a wRC+ of 129 for Triple-A Albuquerque. Murphy has generated a lot of power for the entirety of his career; with a healthy amount of playing time, it’s not out of the question that he can post 15-20 bombs in a season.
Defensively, Murphy is a slightly above-average catcher. In 2017, Murphy caught 14 of 21 steal attempts while in Triple-A. He’s also placed at an even split in most framing metrics for his limited time in the MLB. The Mariners needed to improve at the position from a defensive standpoint this season, and it appears they may have done that while also bringing in a bat with tons of potential.
Murphy is arbitration-eligible after this season, meaning he’s under club control until the end of the 2022 campaign.