With rosters expanding to 40 players on September 1, the Yankees will have to decide which players in the minor leagues without a spot on the current 40-man roster are worth a look. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, one of those players is likely to be catching prospect JR Murphy, who has exceeded all expectations with a strong season between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Starting his season with the Trenton Thunder, Murphy hit .268/.352/.421 with six home runs and ten doubles in 49 games. Since his promotion to Scranton, Murphy has managed to pick up right where he left off against the next level with a .271/.345/.436 batting line, six home runs, and 19 doubles in 58 games. Over his last ten starts with the RailRiders, Murphy has hit .275/.326/.500 with two homers and three doubles in an audition for a chance at the big leagues in September.
It is unlikely that the Yankees will bring up Murphy on the first day they are allowed, as the RailRiders' season will not yet be complete. However, once the Triple-A season is over it won't be difficult to find a place for him on the 40-man roster. Jayson Nix can easily be moved to the 60-day DL with his season over because of a fractured hand, allowing Murphy a spot on the roster. The Yankees would have needed to add Murphy to the 40-man roster this offseason, regardless of their plans for him next season, to protect him from the Rule V draft next year.
With Murphy being major league-ready, the Yankees need to do the right thing and play him if he his promoted next month. Chris Stewart has no future on this team and Murphy may well be the starting catcher in 2014. That being the case, there is no reason why Murphy should be tied to the bench while Stewart continues to disappoint at the plate. The career backup is worn down and not very good to begin with. It's time to look toward the future and that can be done with letting Murphy finish out the season as the Yankees catcher. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain at this point.