Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Romine and Murphy Working Themselves Into 2014 Plans

The New York Yankees catching situation has been a travesty for the majority of the season.

It started out wrong last winter when Brian Cashman wanted to match the measly two-year, $17 million offer Martin got from Pittsburgh, but ownership did not want to give out multi-year deals last offseason. Martin has had a solid season with the Pirates with a slash line of .240/.342/.398/.740 with 13 home runs and has been one of the catalysts for their great season.

The Yankees neglected to sign a real MLB caliber catcher and went into the season with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart. Cervelli had a great month of April (probably HGH induced) before he got injured and has not seen the field since. Stewart took over as the everyday catcher with Austin Romine as the backup.

It has been clear all season that Stewart is not a starting caliber catcher. However, Romine got off to such a terrible start (.158/.179/.211/.390 in the first half) that Stewart was playing every day.

Now the tables have completely turned, as Romine has taken off, and Stewart has hit the wall. Stewart has been egregious in the second half of the season with a slash line of .169/.237.236/.473. Meanwhile, Romine has been absolutely stellar in the second half hitting .340/.418/.511/.929.

Joe Girardi has done an awesome job managing the Yankees this year, but one thing that he has dropped the ball on is not making Romine the everyday catcher earlier and he still hasn’t really done it. He probably does not entirely trust the young catcher, but at 24 years old and playing really well he should be getting the majority of the playing time. Stewart has 99 second half at-bats compared to Romine’s 56, which is really unacceptable.

It will be very interesting to see if Romine will be able to continue his hot hitting in September. If he does the Yankees will have a very interesting decision to make at catcher in the offseason.

If Alex Rodriguez’s suspension holds up, the Yankees would have more money to spend this offseason and a free agency run at Brian McCann makes sense. McCann has had a great season for the Braves with 133 wRC+, a .364 wOBA, a .843 OPS and 19 home runs in a pitchers home park and is still in his prime. However, if Romine and J.R. Murphy continue to develop then the Yankees may feel a lot better about their catching situation than they did before.

Murphy got his name in the Yankees record book yesterday by becoming the 52nd player used this year, which is the most ever for the Yankees. He did a nice job of working the count to 3-1 before hitting a rocket down the third base line for a single. It will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets down the stretch.

Murphy has had a great season in the minors that has gotten him to the Bronx for September. Between Double-A and Triple-A this season Murphy has a .269/.347/.426/.773 slash line with 12 home runs and 29 doubles. These are very good numbers for a 22 year old catcher. Murphy has also performed behind the dish with a 37% CS rate.

Murphy is not one of the more hyped prospects in the Yankees system, but a 22-year old catcher posting these kind of hitting numbers should be getting more attention. If the Yankees do sign McCann, or Romine continues to take off, Murphy could be trade bait, because the Yankees’ best prospect is also a catcher in Gary Sanchez. Either way, Murphy is working his way into the teams plans for next year as a cheap and talented catching option.

Obviously, the number one goal for the Yankees this September would be to finish off what would be one of their most miraculous comebacks ever to make the postseason. However, how Romine and Murphy perform down the stretch will have a big impact on the plans for next year, which is very important as well.


  1. Matt, you are right on the money....Yankee brass did the team and the fans a dis-service by going into this season without a MLB-caliber starting catcher. If the 2 year deal was truly a deal breaker for Martin then they had an IDEAL veteran to bring in on a 1-yr deal in AJ Pierzynski. Where would the team be with a LH sqinging, 280 hitter with 16 HRs catching all year instead of the no-hit tandem they've had most of the yr?

    Thankfully, Romine has gotten comfortable and is hitting very well lately. Girardi has still been hesitant to use him more but he absolutely must. Chris Stewart is a decent backup but his bat is downright feeble and even worse lately as he seems to be fatigued having to catch more than ever. Time to give Romine the majority of starts.

    Big decision in offseason. I think if they can get McCann you have to do it. McCann is a difference maker. If they whiff on McCann, Pierzynski could be a good fallback option on a 1-yr deal. He'll be 37 so can catch 100-110 games and DH 25-30 times with Romine catching 55-60 games.

  2. Fish.....you've been pushing Pierzynski for awhile now......do you really want a jerk like him on our team....I put him in the Beckett, Padilla group of a-holes.

  3. BTW, Murphy is a legit prospect. He's a good athlete who has always been a strong line-drive hitter. He was never highly rated bc his ability to stick as a catcher was questioned and his offensive numbers have never been eye-popping. But he's vastly improved defensively and has always made a lot of hard contact and ripped a lot of Doubles. He'll hit in the majors and his athletic ability makes him a possible versatile defensive player who could play other positions. He could be a backup in the majors right now but with Romine in front of him, he could use a full year in AAA if the Yanks get a capable veteran to start in 2014.

  4. AJ has a bad rep but what has he really done besides talk a little trash and get under some opponents skin? He's a fiery player who goes all out all the time. Hes a family man who has never gotten into trouble off the field. He knows the game and is well-spoken and straight-forward as an announcer. In my eyes he's not in the same category as selfish d-bags like Padilla or Beckett. He's loved by his own fans and respected in his own clubhouse.....opposition may not like him but who cares. He always hustles and took a lot of shit for hustling to 1B in the ALCS the yr the White Sox won the WS. The catcher rolled the ball back to the mound after a dropped 3rd strike and AJ sprinted to 1B.....it was a great heads up play that changed the game but he got killed for it. A lot of players have come to the Yankees with bad reps and most have been bullshit or non-issues. Bottom line is the guy can play, offensively an defensively and plays 100% at all times. That's enough for me.

  5. Fish ...I agree he is a solid player.....but he's a d-bag. He doesn't fit with a class org like our Yankees have been....Jeter, Mo, Andy.....

    Read this article ...it mentions some more things he's done.

  6. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1434057-yankees-rumors-why-the-bombers-should-steer-clear-of-aj-pierzynski

    Whoops here is the link Fish.

  7. I would take 9 players like AJ, being a good guy is nice but, I don't want to...nice a team to death...I want to destroy them, you know, like beat them up. When a fielder hears footsteps trying to turn 2...he doesn't turn 2.
    As long as it is not in the book, do it...no such thing as unwritten rules! They are or they are not in the rule book, if not...go for it! The name of the game is WIN...second place is a looser!
    Not that I mean to play like Ty Cobb but, hard nose, take no prisoners is very good baseball.
    I like it and coach it!

    I know bug, I am no gentleman but, I am alive! They made me an officer but not a gentleman! There were no gentlemen, in Hells Kitchen..back in the 40's and 50's!

  8. TWASP prefers players with class like Petitte and Jeter and Mo and Joe D. Not d-bags like Ty Cobb and Pierzynski and Aroid.

    Win but win with class.

  9. Nothing in that article that would scare me off. There are also several articles about him that call him a "gamer" and "misunderstood". The article is filled with hyperbole.....Pierzynski would be a "disaster waiting to happen" in the Yankees clubhouse. Hahaha.....are you serious? What disaster could happen? At worse he could be disliked by some and get in an argument....no disasters. To me a disaster is having your starting Catcher hit .215 with a .567 OPS!!!!

    The Yanks have had several so-called "cancers" on the team over the years. We heard similar types of things about Strawberry, Gooden, Steve Howe, Reggie, Billy Martin, Cecil Fielder, Swisher, Gary Sheffield, Jim Leyritz, Paul O'Neill, Joba, Randy Johnson, ARod and many others before they came to NY. No one has caused any disasters with their personality's. No one could ever cause more of a distraction than ARod has this year an it's been an absolute non-issue on the field. In fact the team has flourished during the shenanigans.

    Clubhouse "cancers" are totally over-rated in baseball. No one player's personality can have such an adverse on an entire team's performance. AJ has played on plenty of winning teams and has even won a World Series. It would be nice if every player was universally loved and revered like Mo and Jeter but its not reality. The Yanks have plenty of good citizens and great guys....they can afford to take on a guy with spme edge. Every clubhouse has many different personality types but the only truly important traits are if a player goes all out on the field and comes to play and that has NEVER been questioned about AJ even by his haters.

  10. Fish - I'm not saying PZ would ruin the team but I don't like to root for a-holes. And if he comes to the Yankees I will have to root for him.

  11. Maybe you don't read the right books because Joe "D" wasn't a nice class type guy at all. He was self-centered and sometimes even mean to the kids coming up. More interested in his persona and records than the team.
    Be that as it may, he was one heck of a Yankee!

    I think the Yankees could use a guy with PZs' tough attitude! Being nice gets your players hit by the enemy pitchers because you are nice guys and won't hit their guys. Ok, don't hit them, do as I have done, lay down a bunt for the pitcher to field and run him over.

    I sometimes wonder if you are a real person, you act like you are perfect and have never steeped out of your house...No one is perfect!

    Petitte is a class act? Didn't he use (as did A-Rod) and lie about it at first, then came clean. The only reason some of you give him a break is because he is a nice guy, whereas, A-Rod is portrayed as this monster and you are led by the nose (by the media and blogs) to hate a great ballplayer. Other than using PEDs (before they were banned) his only sin was, being the highest paid athlete. That will bring out the daggers! When on top, those (not as good) players and everyone else go after you...it's called Jealousy and human nature.

    How many names were leaked from the more than a 1,000s of names in the Mitchel Report, not many! Oh, I forgot A-Rods name was one of the first! 1m guys and what, 6 names were outed!

  12. Ha ha ....Kenny....TWASP is a fictionary character created by myself to get a rise out of old hard hats like you ....Is it working?

  13. TWASP roots for Aroid to do well...so the Yankees win. TWASP roots for Youkilis so the Yankees win. But TWASP would rather not root for the d-bags. Lets recruit only class acts that can play .... like Jeter.

  14. I get you Twasp. In an ideal world, every Yankee player would be a class act at all times but that's far from reality. I too, would prefer all great players had great character, dignity and respect but I will take some players with some question marks if they can produce and give 100% effort on the field. You don't want a team full of them but a few guys with past issues are OK. I'm all for second chances and giving players clean slates. I'd tell a guy like AJ when I sign him....."look, I don't care what has happened in the past...I am judging you from this day forward on how you conduct yourself while a member of the NY Yankees."

    It's been said that the Yanks have been putting a lot of weight on a player's character when evaluating kids for the draft. They've also been getting criticism for not going after some great talents because of attitude concerns or past trouble. Not sure how true it is or when it began because Hethcott sure wasn't a choir boy in HS.

  15. Yeah Fish, I hated playing on teams that had morons , maybe that's why I hate rooting for them.

  16. Here's my list of A- holes:

    Pedro Martinez
    Manny Ramirez
    BJ Upton
    Stephon Marbury
    Floyd Mayweather

  17. I think that is a good idea fish but, only use that (attitude, character) when there is a tie in talent! Otherwise, unless a player is one that has no work ethics and thinks he is good enough for the SHOW...like Austin Jackson...and thinks, as a college star he should be.......I think ego is the word I am looking for!
    Big ego, with talent to back it up is great, but ego that is not equal to ones talent is a no, no.

    In other words, I like the "Junk Yard Dog" types! Mean, hungry, and don't know how to stop and back-up, they keep coming at you!

    I think you once said something like; The views of ones great players, may have much to do with their generation (age) and up-bringing. Well, sorry about that but, the 30s', 40s' were not for the meek!

  18. This is Your List of A-holes:
    Everyone but,
    Andy (PED user)


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)