The Oakland Athletics asked for absolute haul for Sean Murphy
The St. Louis Cardinals signed catcher Willson Contreras to a 5-year, $87.5 million deal, representing one of the biggest signings in their franchise history. Originally the Cardinals had their eyes set on Oakland Athletics’ catcher Sean Murphy as their number one target, and apparently were close to a deal with Oakland on Tuesday, but the deal ended up falling apart, per Jesse Rodgers of ESPN.
We now have information on who the Athletics were reportedly asking for in that deal thanks to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"The Athletics sought a return of outfielder Lars Nootbaar, Gold Glove-winner Brendan Donovan, and a power young pitcher like Gordon Graceffo in exchange for Murphy and three years of control, according to a source with knowledge of the talks."
I speculated a few days ago that the “high” asking price of the the Athletics’ could be one of Nolan Gorman or Lars Nootbaar, Alec Burleson, and Matthew Liberatore. This was a strong mix of big league ready talent who all have at least 5 years of team control. A deal like this for the Cardinals would have been a tough pill to shallow, but I believe would have been worth it.
Oakland asking for Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, and Gordon Graceffo is an absolute joke. Nootbaar OR Donovan as the center piece in the deal would have made a lot of sense, and even having Graceffo alongside another prospect would have about matched the offer I proposed in my story. This trade that the Athletics’ wanted was far, far too much, and it is no wonder why St. Louis decided to finish the deal with Contreras instead.
Contreras is a really good move for the Cardinals, and now knowing they would not have to give up a Rookie of the Year candidate in Donovan, someone who many believe is going to be a legit bat for years to come in Nootbaar, and an exciting pitching prospect in Graceffo, the Contreras signing makes all of the sense in the world.
But what about a trade with Toronto?
For any who are wondering if a deal with Toronto could have been had, it appears that the Cardinals were not as much of a match with the Blue Jays as we all had thought they would be, as Goold also hit on in that story.
"The Cardinals received a lot of interest in Nootbaar. He was also coveted by Toronto in talks about a trade for catcher Danny Jansen. The Cardinals and Toronto also discussed deals centered around a closer, with some discussion of Ryan Helsley, a source described."
Nootbaar in a Jansen trade would have been a tough pill to shallow, and I am guessing the Cardinals probably wanted a prospect back from the Blue Jays in that deal. Trading Ryan Helsley for one of those catchers should never have been on the table.
So, for any who were wondering how the Cardinals landed on Contreras, it appears the trade market tried to leverage the Cardinals interest too much, and they wisely walked away from those negotiations and closed the deal with Contreras.
I gotta say, this was an excellent job by John Mozeliak. All of baseball knew they wanted a catcher, and everyone was trying to take advantage of the Cardinals strong desire to upgrade there. Instead of paying a premium in prospects to get a controllable catcher, St. Louis ponied up and signed the best guy available, choosing to set the catching market, rather than wait for more aggressive teams to make their move.