Friday, July 28, 2017

A minor league trade

John Ryan Murphy was supposed to be the future at catcher for the Minnesota Twins when then-general manager Terry Ryan traded Aaron Hicks to the Yankees for him. The expectation was that he would open 2016 as the backup to Kurt Suzuki and by midseason claim the No. 1 job, perhaps even allowing the Twins to trade Suzuki at the deadline.

But Murphy simply didn't hit. His batting average was .075 when the Twins shipped him down to Rochester, and while he did a little better when he returned after the rosters expanded, his final average of .146 wasn't going to cut it.

The new regime went in a different direction. Murphy has spent the season in Rochester, hitting about as well (or poorly) as he did in Triple A last season, and was passed on the depth chart by Mitch Garver. On Thursday the Twins traded Murphy to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Gabriel Moya, a 22-year-old lefty reliever at Double A Jackson (Texas League).

Those are some intriguing stats. 0.82 ERA? 68 strikeouts in 43.2 innings?

Despite that imposing strikeout  rate, Moya does not have blazing velocity. He is said to have a deceptive delivery and a plus changeup. He's not on the 40-man roster, and I doubt the organization is eager to push him to the majors from Double-A.

Berardino reports that Murphy is, for the second straight year, leading minor league catchers in pitch framing, as compiled by Baseball Prospectus. That clearly wasn't enough to win over the new front office, which emphasized pitch framing in signing Jason Castro last winter.

At least we now have a reason for the acquisition in the Jaime Garcia trade earlier this week of journeyman catcher Anthony Recker, who takes Murphy's spot as the No. 2 catcher at Rochester.

Not a big trade, obviously, but it does open a spot on the 40-man roster.

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