The Giants have claimed catcher Tom Murphy off waivers from the Rockies, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports (via Twitter). Colorado reportedly placed the 27-year-old Murphy, who is out of minor league options, on waivers over the weekend.
The move to acquire Murphy comes just one day after San Francisco acquired another out-of-options catcher, Erik Kratz, in a trade with the Brewers. That now gives the organization three catchers to carry on the 25-man roster to start the season, as Murphy and Kratz will join Buster Posey on the Opening Day roster. As Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area recently wrote, skipper Bruce Bochy did acknowledge that the organization had considered carrying three catchers to begin the year, although at the time, the thinking was that said statement applied to young catcher Aramis Garcia. With Murphy now in the organization, Garcia seems ticketed for Triple-A to open the season.
In placing Murphy on waivers, the Rockies seemingly prioritized catcher defense over Murphy, who arguably has greater offensive potential than in-house options Tony Wolters and Chris Iannetta. (The decision was surely also influenced in part by the $4.8MM still owed to Iannetta.) Murphy showed some of that promise early in his limited MLB experience, hitting .266/.341/.608 through his first 88 MLB plate appearances in 2015-16. Since that time, he’s logged an additional 122 PAs and mustered only a .188/.221/.325 batting line, although that paltry sample of data doesn’t reveal much.
Murphy, a former Top 100 prospect in the eyes of Baseball America, maintained a potent bat in Triple-A last season when he posted a .901 OPS in 264 PAs that is a near-mirror image of his composite .902 OPS from parts of four seasons at the top minor league level. Murphy has been about average at catching base thieves throughout his Major League and minor league tenure, and Baseball Prospectus has valued his pitch-framing and pitch-blocking skills similarly.