Tom Murphy is well-regarded by Mariners pitchers for his deep understanding of the organization’s overall pitching approach and ability to develop a strong rapport with the pitching staff, but other deficiencies in his game have created a cloudy future for him in Seattle.
Murphy fell outside of the top 30 catchers in MLB this season with a 4.3 defensive (DEF) rating, according to Fangraphs, while rookie Cal Raleigh posted an impressive 5.9 DEF rating in just 43 games. Offensively, Murphy’s .202/.304/.350 slash line and OPS+ of 84 (where 100 is league average) doesn’t help his case.
Murphy is arbitration-eligible next season and would be expected to make $1.75 million; if the Mariners don’t find a willing trade partner for Murphy this offseason, I don’t believe they will tender him that contract. Whether Seattle develops Luis Torrens’s catching abilities (which I believe they should prioritize), or tap into the free agent market/trade market for catchers, Seattle will be better off finding a platoon-mate for Cal Raleigh behind the plate elsewhere.