Wednesday, August 17, 2022

MLB trade rumors: Guardians in discussions about Sean Murphy; Astros eyeing Christian Vázquez, others

The 2022 MLB trade deadline is 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday (Aug. 2), so teams now have less than 36 hours to address their needs and improve their rosters for the stretch run. We’ve already seen a few big names dealt and surely more trades are on the way. 

Here are Monday’s trade deadline rumors.

Guardians, Athletics have discussed Murphy

The Guardians entered Monday with a 52-49 record, placing them 1 1/2 games back for the final American League wild card spot. They’ve at least had discussions about upgrading the plate, inquiring on Athletics catcher Sean Murphy. Those conversations haven’t progressed far, however, according to The Athletic’s Zack Meisel.

CBS Sports ranked Murphy as one of the best players potentially available this summer, noting:

Murphy is under team control through the 2025 season, but the A’s have some reason to move him earlier than need be. For one, they have Shea Langeliers ready and waiting in Triple-A; for another, if you’re going to stripmine your roster to slash costs, you might as well go all-in. Whenever the A’s get serious about moving Murphy, he’s going to be a sought-after commodity. He’s been an above-average hitter through more than 1,000 big-league plate appearances, and there seems to be more raw power in his stick than he’s realized in-game: earlier this season, he recorded an exit velocity of 114 mph, a figure that puts him in Mike Trout and Bryce Harper‘s neighborhood. The kicker is that Murphy doesn’t have to hit as much as he has in order to be a valuable player; he’s a tremendous defender who grades well in all the most important categories, including framing, throwing, and staff-handling. Him offering any kind of offensive value, let alone good offensive value for a backstop, makes him a big-time asset. 

Per Meisel, Oakland has claimed the team is in no rush to move Murphy because of his years of remaining team control. It’s to be seen if their stance softens any as the deadline draws closer.

Astros interested in Choi, Vázquez 

The Astros have one of the safest division leads in baseball. That isn’t stopping them from pursuing upgrades at first base and at catcher. To wit, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Sunday that Houston has shown interest in both Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi and Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez.

Choi, a free agent after the 2023 season, has posted a .257/.355/.415 (125 OPS+) slash line in 75 games. It’s unclear how serious the Rays would be about moving him, given that they’re currently the AL’s second wild card team and they could use the offense.

Vázquez, a free agent at season’s end, has batted .282/.327/.432 (108 OPS+) in his first 84 games this season. He’s traditionally been known as an above-average defender as well, though Statcast’s framing metrics have him a hair below par this season, for whatever that’s worth. 

The Astros are also known to have interest in Nationals first baseman Josh Bell and Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, among others.

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