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Report: Guardians actively pursuing trade for A's Murphy

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The trade market for Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy is starting to take shape ahead of the winter meetings.

The Cleveland Guardians are interested in acquiring the former Gold Glove backstop and are among the most active teams pursuing a trade with Oakland, sources told Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Murphy would be a massive upgrade behind the plate for the AL Central champions. Cleveland's catchers combined to post a 55 wRC+ in 2022, the worst mark in the American League and second-lowest in the majors. Murphy's bat would add even more punch to a potent lineup that already features MVP candidate Jose Ramirez, All-Star Andres Gimenez, and Rookie of the Year finalist Steven Kwan, among others.

The 28-year-old is a lifetime .236/.326/.429 hitter across parts of four seasons with the Athletics, and his 10.0 WAR since 2020 is better than every catcher except J.T. Realmuto, per FanGraphs. After winning a Gold Glove in 2021, Murphy produced a career-best offensive season for Oakland this past year, earning some down-ballot MVP votes for the first time.

Murphy is entering his first year of arbitration and won't become a free agent until after the 2025 season, which may make him particularly attractive to the cost-conscious Guardians. Murphy's $3.5-million projected salary in 2023, per MLB Trade Rumors, would make him only the fifth-highest paid player on Cleveland's roster.

The Tampa Bay Rays are also reportedly pursuing a trade for Murphy.

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