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  • Brewers Acquire Catcher William Contreras


    Seth Stohs

    The trade market had been dead during the Winter Meetings, but it's a new week and the hot stove warmed up quickly on Monday afternoon with some catcher trades. The Brewers, in need of a catcher, acquired All Star William Contreras from the Atlanta Braves as part of a three-team deal. 

    Image courtesy of Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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    In a somewhat surprising move, the Atlanta Braves were the team to acquire catcher Sean Murphy from the Oakland A's on Monday. 

    The Braves already had a couple of All Star catchers on their roster. Veteran Travis d'Arnaud has been an All Star, and William Contreras was an All Star in 2022, his first full season in the big leagues. A month ago, @Nate Palmer discussed the possibility of the Brewers finding a catcher from Atlanta, and today that has happened. 

    Less than a week after his brother, fellow catcher Willson Contreras, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Brewers brought in William. The 24-year-old played in four games for the 2020 Braves. In 2021, he hit .215/.303/.399 (.701) with four doubles and eight homers in 52 games. He broke out in 2022. In 97 games, he hit .278/.354/.506 (.860) with 14 doubles, 20 homers, and his first All Star appearance. 

    Now, how much will Contreras actually catch is to be seen. He is not a great defensive backstop, but he's solid. He caught in 60 games for Atlanta in 2022. He threw out just 14% of would-be base stealers. However, in 49 games in 2021, he threw out 37% So, he will be a work-in-progress, but he can also provide a right-handed DH option to the Brewers. 

    In addition to Contreras, the Brewers will receive Joel Payamps and Justin Yeager. Right-hander Payamps is 28 years old and has already pitched for the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Royals and A's since his big-league debut in 2019. In 2022, he posted a 3.23 ERA over 55 2/3 innings between the Royals and A's. He had just 16 walks and just 41 strikeouts.

    Justin Yeager is a right-handed relief pitcher. The 24 year old was the 33rd round pick of Atlanta in 2019. He split 2022 between High-A and AA. Combined, he worked in 52 1/3 innings over 49 games. He had nine saves. In 52 1/3 innings, he walked 32, but he had an impressive 81 strikeouts(13.9 K/9). 

    While we will find out that there are more pieces, we know right now that the Brewers are sending Esteury Ruiz to the A's. Ruiz came to the Brewers at the trade deadline from the Padres in the Josh Hader deal. Or maybe not??

    Is it really possible that the Brewers acquired a young catcher with great family ties and an All-Star season already under his belt, an MLB reliever, and intriguing minor-league reliever for speedy outfielder Esteury Ruiz?? 

    Former Brewers catcher Manny Pina is heading to Oakland in the deal. 

    What we know so far: 

    Oakland to Atlanta: Sean Murphy
    Atlanta to Milwaukee: William Contreras, Justin Yeager 
    Atlanta to Oakland: Manny Pina, Royber Salinas,  Freddy Tarnok (24 year old RHP), Kyle Muller (Braves #1 prospect). 

    Oakland to Milwaukee: Joel Payamps
    Milwaukee to Oakland: Esteury Ruiz 

     

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    This a great get for the brewers, particularly if our contribution is mainly Ruiz (they really needed to trade him, Mitchell or Frelick, with Ruiz being the most desirable to trade). Contreras has been a LHP-destroyer, so that helps a ton.

    Eager to see what else we lose.

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    Like Robo said, it was pretty obvious we'd be dealing one of the "Nashville four" OFs at some point. I like this deal, provided there isn't an extra piece or two included that I'm particularly enamored with. He's also still controlled when Quero should be ready, adding to your flexibility & options.

     

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    If Contreras is still one year of pre-arby this year, so we have control for 4 years, it sure seems like a great deal.  I guess Oakland really loved Ruiz, or there was no reason to include Milwaukee.

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