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Murphy to Braves, William Contreras to Brews in 3-team trade

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves acquired catcher Sean Murphy from the Oakland Athletics as part of a three-team deal Monday that also sent All-Star catcher William Contreras to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Oakland acquired catcher Manny Piña and pitching prospects Kyle Muller, Freddy Tarnok and Royber Salinas from Atlanta and outfield prospect Esteury Ruiz from Milwaukee. The Brewers also acquired right-handed pitchers Joel Payamps and Justin Yeager.

Murphy, 28, led American League catchers in hits (114), doubles (28) and extra-base hits (46) this past season while batting .250 with 18 homers, 66 RBIs and a .759 OPS in 148 games. He won a Gold Glove in 2021.

Contreras, who turns 25 on Dec. 24, made the NL All-Star team as a designated hitter in 2022. He batted .278 with 20 homers, 45 RBIs and an .860 OPS while making 57 starts at catcher, 31 at designated hitter and one in left field.

The Brewers also boosted their bullpen with the addition of Payamps, who went 3-6 with a 3.23 ERA in 41 games with the Kansas City Royals and Athletics last season. Yeager spent the 2022 season in the Braves’ farm system.

Oakland added plenty of prospects in the deal along with the 35-year-old Piña, who played just five games for the Braves in 2022 before undergoing season-ending wrist surgery.

Muller, 25, was rated as the Braves’ top prospect by MLB.com and Baseball America. He went 6-8 with a 3.41 ERA at Triple-A Gwinnett and went 1-1 with an 8.03 ERA in three starts with Atlanta. The left-hander has gone 3-5 with a 5.14 ERA in 12 career major-league appearances.

Ruiz, 23, had a combined 85 steals and a .974 OPS while playing in the San Diego Padres’ and Brewers’ farm systems. He was part of the package that came to Milwaukee in the deal that sent four-time All-Star closer Josh Hader to San Diego.

Tarnok, 24, made one relief appearance for the Braves in 2022 while spending most of the season at Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi. Salinas, a 21-year-old right-hander, pitched at the Single-A level for the Braves this past season.

In another move, the Athletics designated infielder Vimael Machín for assignment.

Lefty Manaea signs with Giants

Free agent left-hander Sean Manaea has reached agreement on a $25 million, two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract hadn’t been finalized or announced by the club.

Manaea brings a key left-handed arm to the rotation joining Logan Webb, Alex Cobb and Alex Wood. The Giants could lose lefty Carlos Rodón in free agency.

Williams: Nats want him as starter

Trevor Williams says the Washington Nationals plan to use him in their rotation next season. Williams agreed to a two-year contract with the Nationals last week.

The right-hander was a free agent after being used in a swing role with the New York Mets in 2022. He was hoping to find a team that would employ him as a starting pitcher and he said Monday in a video call with reporters that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told him that would be his role in Washington.

Jays ink right-hander Bassitt

The Toronto Blue Jays strengthened their rotation by agreeing to a $63 million, three-year deal with Chris Bassitt. A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to the AP on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The 33-year-old Bassitt became a free agent when he declined his $19 million option with the New York Mets, following rotation mates Jacob deGrom and Taijuan Walker into free agency.

Bassitt went 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 30 starts after the Mets acquired the right-hander in a trade with Oakland at the end of the lockout.

Twins, Vázquez agree to contract

The Minnesota Twins have added Christian Vázquez, agreeing to a $30 million, three-year contract with the veteran catcher. Two people with knowledge of the contract confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending the completion of a physical exam.

Vázquez played for Boston and Houston this season, hitting .274 with nine homers and 52 RBIs in 119 games. He was traded to the Astros on Aug. 1.

Bell brings power to Guardians

The Guardians have added some major pop to their lineup. Cleveland officially signed slugger Josh Bell to a two-year, $33 million contract after agreeing to the deal last week during the winter meetings in San Diego.

Bell’s contract includes a player opt out after next season, but Bell made it clear he wants to stay around for a while. The AL Central champion Guardians were in the market for a big bat after hitting just 127 homers last season.

The switch-hitting Bell belted 37 homers in 2019 for Pittsburgh and has 130 over seven seasons in the majors.

Athletics catcher Sean Murphy, left, tries to tag White Sox runner Adam Engel, who scored during a game on Sept. 9 in Oakland, Calif. Murphy was traded to the Braves on Monday.

Athletics catcher Sean Murphy, left, tries to tag White Sox runner Adam Engel, who scored during a game on Sept. 9 in Oakland, Calif. Murphy was traded to the Braves on Monday.

Braves catcher William Contreras flys out during Game 1 of an NLDS game against the Phillies on Oct. 11 in Atlanta. Contreras was traded to the Brewers on Monday.

Braves catcher William Contreras flys out during Game 1 of an NLDS game against the Phillies on Oct. 11 in Atlanta. Contreras was traded to the Brewers on Monday.

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