Francisco Cervelli is finally ready to be activated from the 60-day disabled list, where he has spent almost the entire season recovering from a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Manager Joe Girardi has said that Cervelli will be activated next week, after the Yankees return from their West Coast trip. Does that mean that John Ryan Murphy will be sent down to Triple-A?
Probably. Cervelli is out of options, so if the Yankees designated him for assignment, they would risk losing him to another team. Plus, there would be no point in risking losing a catcher who could potentially be traded. Murphy has hit well, though, so it's unfortunate for him. It's hard to compare their stat lines, because Cervelli only played in a grand total of five games this season before his injury, during which he hit a meaningless .188/.235/.250. Last season, Cervelli only had 61 plate appearances and hit .269/.377/.500. Murphy has had a comparable 60 plate appearances so far this season, and is batting .310/.333/.397.
The Yankees could carry three catchers, but that seems unlikely as it would require them to remove someone from the 25-man roster. Brian Roberts comes to mind, yet the team appears to be committed to rolling him out as the second baseman, unless he happens to go on the DL. Even if they did decide to go with three catchers, it probably wouldn't be very beneficial to Murphy. Being the lowest catcher on the totem pole would mean getting very little playing time, in which case it might be better for him to return to Triple-A. Girardi said something similar, stating that at least at Triple-A Murphy could play every day so that he could continue to develop. If they did decide to carry three catchers, then maybe Cervelli would be more of the backup first baseman, like they tried early in the season, so that Murphy might get to play more frequently.
It's tough because Cervelli hasn't out-played Murphy to earn the backup catcher spot back, and Murphy hasn't done anything to deserve being sent down. Although, given Cervelli's track record with injuries, we might see Murphy back up again soon. That's one of the perks of having five catchers on the 40-man roster.
Additionally, though there is an open spot on the 40-man roster, the Yankees might have to DFA someone in order to make room for Cervelli if they want to maintain that flexibility. Possible candidates include David Huff, Matt Daley and maybe even Preston Claiborne. Huff was only recently added and pitched three innings in last night's game, where he allowed one run, one walk and struck out one. Matt Daley is currently down in Triple-A and through 13 IP at the big league level has a 4.85 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Claiborne is also at Triple-A, but has thrown 17.2 innings with the Yankees this season, putting up a 3.57 ERA, 7.13 K/9 and 1.53 WHIP. The case could be made for any of them.
Would you rather see Murphy sent down or do you think he's more deserving of the spot than Cervelli? Should the Yankees DFA anyone to add Cervelli to the 40-man?