Giants, Murphy officially agree to two-year deal

December 23rd, 2023

The Giants and free-agent catcher  have agreed to a two-year, $8.25 million deal that includes a $4 million club option for 2026, the team announced Saturday. 

Murphy will earn $4 million in each of his first two seasons with San Francisco. If the club does not exercise his third-year option, Murphy will be entitled to a $250,000 buyout. He’ll also make a $20,000 annual donation to the Giants Community Fund in each of his first two seasons and another $20,000 donation in 2026 if the option is exercised.

Murphy, 32, will give the Giants an experienced veteran to back up , who has emerged as the club’s catcher of the future following his impressive rookie campaign in 2023. The right-handed-hitting Murphy hit .290 with an .873 OPS and eight home runs over 47 games with Seattle this past season, though he missed the final six weeks of the year due to a thumb injury.

A third-round Draft pick of the Rockies in 2012, Murphy has a .769 career OPS over parts of eight seasons with Colorado and Seattle, including an .842 OPS against left-handed pitching. While he’s viewed as more of a hitting-first catcher, Murphy should be a nice complement to the defensively-minded Bailey, who was a Gold Glove Award finalist in his first year in the Majors.

Still, the Giants will be counting on their newest backstop to stay healthy, as Murphy has appeared in only 158 games over the past three seasons due to injuries.

Murphy’s arrival could have ramifications for former first-round Draft pick Joey Bart, who has been viewed as a trade candidate now that Bailey has firmly entrenched himself as the Giants’ top catcher.

The No. 2 overall pick of the 2018 Draft, Bart debuted with the Giants during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but he’s struggled to establish himself in the Majors, batting only .219 with a .623 OPS and 11 home runs over the past four seasons. Bart, 27, spent the bulk of the 2023 campaign at Triple-A Sacramento and will be out of options going into Spring Training in '24.

The Giants have a third catcher, Blake Sabol, on their 40-man roster, though he will be eligible to be optioned to the Minors after sticking as a Rule 5 Draft pick in 2023. Sabol, 25, hit .235 with a .695 OPS and 13 home runs in 110 games during his rookie season and emerged as a valuable contributor through his ability to split time between the outfield and behind the plate.

After signing Murphy and KBO star Jung Hoo Lee and claiming outfielder TJ Hopkins and right-handed reliever Devin Sweet off waivers, the Giants’ 40-man roster is now full.