NORTH PORT, Fla. — Entering the offseason, the Braves were already viewed as one of baseball’s most talented teams. The baseball world saw them as a club with a bright present and future.
Then they added one of the game’s best catchers.
In December, Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos swung a trade for Sean Murphy, the young catcher from Oakland. Murphy makes the Braves even better and increases their World Series chances that much more.
Ahead of opening day, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did Q&As with several key Braves players.
Q: Before the trade, what did you think of this team from afar?
A: I thought it was a very good team. We played them four times. I think the takeaway I had was that the team had more depth than anybody else in the big leagues. Yeah, it was just a super deep team with a great pitching staff and a great lineup. So it just felt like there was no break in there.
Q: I know you haven’t been here long, but in what ways have you noticed the camaraderie of this group?
A: Everybody gets along great. I was welcomed in with open arms. I feel like I’m fitting in, and guys have been nothing but nice and generous to me. The way we treat each other, it matters a lot. Everybody in this clubhouse is a great person.
Q: When you think about working with catching coach Sal Fasano, what makes him so good at relaying information to you guys?
A: Sal’s a good communicator. He doesn’t cookie-cut catchers. He tries to work within the bounds of what each specific player can do, and how I’m built compared to how Travis (d’Arnaud) is built is different. We’re going to catch differently, and Sal works around that, and understands what our limitations are and what our strengths are.
Q: Have you ever been to Waffle House?
A: I’ve been to a Waffle House, yeah.
Q: What’s your order?
A: I don’t know. Whatever the main thing is. (I think) it’s that Grand Slam. I don’t know.
Q: I think that’s Denny’s.
A: That’s Denny’s, yeah. There’s a lot of Waffle House and a lot of Denny’s being eaten in the minor leagues, like in the Texas League and stuff. Yeah, I’ve been to Waffle Houses. There was one in Arkansas outside the hotel, so we would go there all the time in Double-A.
Q: Through Braves Fest and some spring training games, you’ve gotten to see Braves fans. Have you gotten a sense of how much this team means to people in the region?
A: Yeah, the turnout was great at Braves Fest. Yeah, it means a lot. This is the Southeast’s team, right? So they have a lot of the country. It’s great to be appreciated and feel the love out there. I saw some of that on a Tuesday night against the A’s (last season). The place was packed. It shows the dedication.
Q: How has it been getting to know your pitchers, both as pitchers and as people, this spring?
A: It’s going great. Making friends with these guys and hanging out with them off the field a little bit, it’s been nice. Whole new staff, so a bunch of new guys (to) get to know. It’s coming along, and the relationships will continue to build as we go through the season.
Q: How far can this team go?
A: All the way, without a doubt.