The Hot Stove season is finally heating up. Major League Baseball is holding its first in-person Winter Meetings since 2019, and moves are being made. And Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy may be the next domino to fall.

Murphy has seen his name in a ton of trade rumors this offseason. MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand reported on Sunday the A’s were close to moving their catcher.

On Monday, we’ve learned who the more serious contenders are. Feinsand named the Houston Astros as one suitor, while the St. Louis Cardinals were labeled as a suitor by beat writer Derrick Goold.

Feinsand noted the Astros already have a starting catcher in Martin Maldonado. Any addition behind the plate will likely share time with Maldonado, as Houston values the veteran backstop rather highly.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, may view a trade for Murphy as a bit of a means to an end. A trade allows them to add a catcher without spending a ton of money in free agency.

The money they would have earmarked for a catcher would then go towards a shortstop, with Goold specifically mentioning the team’s interest in Dansby Swanson.

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Both teams are also connected to free agent catcher Willson Contreras. The Astros were interested in both Murphy and Contreras at the trade deadline. Houston had a trade for Contreras in place, but ownership rejected the deal.

Murphy became the starting catcher in Oakland in 2021, and emerged as a valuable asset. Offensively, he isn’t a game-changer, but the 28-year-old won a Gold Glove in 2021 and earned MVP votes in 2022.

It remains to be seen which team will prevail in these sweepstakes. However, the race for Murphy’s services is sure to heat up as the week progresses.