Brewers get All-Star catcher in 3-team trade with Braves, A's

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 11: William Contreras #24 of the Atlanta Braves looks on during the game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on September 11, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners defeated the Braves 8-7. (Photo by Rob Leiter/ML

The Milwaukee Brewers acquired on Monday, Dec. 12 catcher William Contreras (ATL), right-handed pitcher Joel Payamps (OAK), and right-handed pitcher Justin Yeager (ATL) in a three-team trade with the Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics. 

A news release says as part of the deal, the team sent outfielder Esteury Ruiz to Oakland. In addition, catcher Sean Murphy was sent from Oakland to Atlanta and catcher Manny Piña, left-handed pitcher Kyle Muller, right-handed pitcher Freddy Tarnok and right-handed pitcher Royber Salinas were sent from Atlanta to Oakland. The announcement was made by Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Arnold.

The players in the trade

Contreras, who turns 25 on Dec. 24 and is under club control through the 2027 season, batted .278 with 20 HR and 45 RBI in 97 games in 2022 (.354 OBP/.506 SLG/.860 OPS). He made 89 starts (57g at C, 31g at DH, 1g in LF). He started the All-Star Game as the designated hitter for the National League. Over his last 48 games, he hit .304 (52-for-171) with 9 HR and 22 RBI (.366 OBP/.503 SLG/.869 OPS).

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Contreras is the younger brother of Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras. He hit 17 of his 20 HR last season as a catcher, which tied for fourth (with his brother) in the Major Leagues from the position. He batted .354 (35-for-99) with 5 HR against left-handed pitching in 2022 (.440 OBP/.596 SLG/1.036 OPS).

Contreras was originally signed by Atlanta as a non-drafted free agent on Feb. 1, 2015. He made his Major League debut with the Braves in 2020 and is a career .260 hitter with 28 HR and 69 RBI in 153 games (.338 OBP/.471 SLG/.809 OPS). He played in the postseason in 2021 and 2022.

Payamps, 28, owns a career 3.35 ERA in 82 appearances (1 start) in the Major Leagues with Arizona (2019-20), Toronto (2021), Kansas City (2021-22) and Oakland (2022). He went 3-6 with a 3.23 ERA in a career-high 41 games last season with the Royals (29g) and Athletics (12g).

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Joel Payamps #30 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Seattle Mariners at RingCentral Coliseum on September 20, 2022 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Mariners 4-1. (Photo by Michae

Yeager, who turns 25 on Jan. 20, was selected by Atlanta in the 33rd round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Southern Illinois University. He is 10-5 with a 3.21 ERA and 16 saves in 94 games, all in relief, during his Minor League career (2019-22). He has held opponents to a .188 batting average with 178 strikeouts in just 117.2 innings pitched. 

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Yeager went 1-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 49 appearances last season between Class-A Rome (11g) and Double-A Mississippi (38g). Opponents batted just .158 as he produced 81 strikeouts in 52.1 innings pitched. 

Ruiz, 23, was acquired on Aug. 1 with three other players in the trade that sent left-handed pitcher Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres. He made his Major League debut last season, appearing in 17 games between San Diego (14g) and Milwaukee (3g).