It doesn't seem like that long ago that we were wondering what the Mariners were going to do at catcher. It's easily been answered now with the emergence of Cal Raleigh, but there is still a question lingering for the backup spot. Is Tom Murphy up to fill in, and can he provide as the backup backstop for the Mariners?
I think Murphy is the perfect backup catcher. Get him 50 games or so, maybe a bit more with some DH work. Should keep him healthy, keep his intensity at the forefront still, and give that extra fire to the Mariners.
It's why I think we are going to see a light version of 2019 Murphy, his first in Seattle. Let's check out some of his stats since he got to Seattle.
2019 - .273/.324/.535, 126 WRC+, 6.8% BB, 31% K, 10.7 Off, 12.7 Def. 3.2 fWAR
2022 - .303/.439/.455, 168 WRC+, 19% BB, 31%K, 2.8 Off, 0.7 Def, .474 BABIP
STEAMER - .223/.304/.396, 105 WRC+, 9.7% BB, 29.5% K, 1.1 Off, 1.0 Def, 1.0 fWAR
Career - .240/.321/.440, 110 WRC+, 10.3% BB, 30.7% K, 2.8 Off, 5.7 Def, 1.6 fWAR
I think we are going to see something a lot closer to his career average. We are getting a healthy and rested Tom Murphy who doesn't have to shoulder the load. He's got pop with 30 HR in 570 AB, so we could easily see 10-12 from him this season. He's a solid defender catching a good staff, which should make his numbers look a bit better, especially with a good defense in the field.
There is no chance he repeats some of those 2022 rates, as a 19% walk rate at .474 BABIP aren't reasonable to see again. Maybe if he goes the Grandal rate and chooses walks over everything else, we could see a rate like that, but everything else would struggle. I really do think he performs incredibly close to that career Mariners line, hitting around .240, giving 1.5 fWAR or so, and posting a nice little WRC+.