Sometimes a team must discern a need from a want.
The Guardians wanted to find ways to provide greater run support for their pitchers.
But teams looking to trade with the Guardians needed some of Cleveland’s top prospects.
And that’s how we got through a rather silent trade deadline in Cleveland.
But hey, it wasn’t without the Guardians trying.
It was perhaps the most obvious secret in Cleveland.
So obvious, it wasn’t a secret at all.
The Guardians wanted help behind the plate to replace Austin Hedges, who is scuffling to a .176 average and .527 OPS.
So they reached out to the Athletics to gauge a deal for Sean Murphy.
But the A’s needed — there’s that word again — quite the haul in return.
Ultimately, that’s what caused the phones to hang up in Oakland and Cleveland without a deal completed, per Zach Meisal of The Athletic:
“The Guardians made several offers for Oakland catcher Sean Murphy, who ultimately remained with the A’s. Cleveland presented a few iterations of a prospect package, but the club preferred not to part with its top minor-league talent (George Valera, Daniel Espino, Gavin Williams), in part because of catcher Bo Naylor’s significant progress this year at Double A and Triple A. The two could have coexisted on the big-league roster next season, but the Guardians deemed Murphy more of an enticing trade target than a mandatory one, and thus, the two sides couldn’t find middle ground on the terms of a deal. Murphy is under team control through the 2025 season. It would make sense for the A’s to revisit dealing him this winter.”
It’s unfortunate that a deal couldn’t get done.
In Murphy, the Guardians could have had a relatively young, controllable plate presence who is batting .245 with a .758 OPS.
He could have revitalized the middle-end of the order, adding some batting oomph in a position currently occupied by Myles Straw and Hedges.
Sean Murphy takes Shohei deep for the lead! pic.twitter.com/VqPALMIFdt
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 4, 2022
Would parting with one of those top prospects have been a penny too pretty?
As good as Valera is promised, he plays right field, a position jammed up with Oscar Gonzalez and Nolan Jones.
Perhaps the Guardians feel that Valera has a chance to be better than both.
And I suppose the same for Bo Naylor, who could have been thrown into the package.
Giving up both Naylor and Valera might have been a bit of a premium.
But Cleveland has to make a move sometime and exchange a few redundant farm options for proven players.
Now we wait until the winter.
Meisel also noted that the Guardians had some interest in Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras.
But those talks fell apart over concerns about Contreras’ attitude, defense, and ability to handle a new rotation of pitchers.
If those reports are true, it’s a great thing Cleveland laid off.
The last thing the Guardians would want to do is infect the young and bubbly team with a moody veteran.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) August 3, 2022
Chemistry is no small reason why the Guardians have been so successful and fun to watch.
Maybe Contreras would have been an offensive upgrade, but he could have been a real negative everywhere else.
And that’s not what you want, or need, in a clubhouse.