The Chicago Cubs have a hole to fill at the catching position after losing Willson Contreras this offseason. There are a few good free-agent options, and the Cubs have been linked to Christian Vázquez. Although landing Vázquez would be a great signing, the Cubs should have a backup plan. With the weak backup options on the free-agent market, the Cubs should look toward a trade. We have recently discussed the possibility of Oakland Athletics' catcher Sean Murphy, and with the Athletics' willingness to trade their stars, it is not out of the realm of possibility for the Cubs to trade for him.
Murphy had a solid 2022 campaign as he hit .250 with 18 home runs and 66 RBI. These stats are not anything special, but as a catcher, they are above average. The catching position is the weakest offensive position in baseball, so anytime there is a chance to acquire a catcher that can contribute offensively, it should be seriously considered. Not only is Murphy good offensively, but he also ranks among the best defensively as well. In fact, Murphy was able to bring home the American League Gold Glove in 2021.
What makes the 28-year-old even more appealing to clubs is the control they will have over him. Murphy will be under club control for 3 more seasons. He is a fantastic two-way catcher, and no doubt will generate interest. The Athletics have already received interest for the star catcher actually. MLBTR name drops the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, and other teams not named the Cubs. With Murphy's ability to contribute on offense and his solid defense, the Athletics most likely have a very high price tag. The Cubs have a strong farm system and have the pieces to acquire him. The only question here is whether or not the Cubs are willing to give away that much talent for Murphy.
A little disclaimer here: Ian Happ will not be included. The Cubs have been in talks to extend him, and after not trading him at the 2022 trade deadline, they should extend him. However, because he is an extension candidate, that might turn the Athletics off. The Athletics have not wanted to pay their players recently, and I do not see them wanting to pay Ian Happ. With that said, here are 3 potential trades the Cubs can make to land Sean Murphy.