The competition for the fifth spot in the rotation may be getting most of the attention as spring training progresses, but Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy are also battling it out to become Brian McCann's backup catcher. Murphy has shown more talent over the years and may be the favorite, but Romine is out of options, so if he doesn't make the team, he would have to go through waivers and the Yankees could lose him. If they do choose Murphy, they could always try to trade Romine so that they at least get something back for him. Which teams are in need of a backup catcher?
The Phillies have reportedly expressed interest in trading for Romine. They have veteran Carlos Ruiz lined up as their starter, and they've been having a spring training competition for the backup job. If they want to fill the spot internally, Cameron Rupp appears to be their best option, though he has very little major league experience. If the Phillies did float a trade idea, it might make sense to trade for the Yankees to trade for another player who is out of options, since Romine isn't exactly worth much. Of the Phillies six players without minor league options, only two stand out as potential trade candidates, Phillippe Aumont and Cesar Hernandez. Aumont is a huge (6'7") right-handed reliever with a 6+ ERA over the past three seasons, but he's a harder thrower and he would fit in well with the Yankees bullpen if he could find a way to pitch well. Hernandez can play both infield and outfield, but so can Jose Pirela. Still, if they can get something back for Romine, as opposed to losing him on the waiver wire, they might as well do it.
Another team that is now in the market for a backup catcher is the Padres. Their backup catcher, Tim Federowicz, has a torn meniscus which will require surgery. The Padres have quite a few other catchers in camp, but few with major league experience. They could be interested in Romine, and the Yankees and Padres have made quite a few trades recently, sending both Yangervis Solarte and Shawn Kelley over in the past year. On the other hand, there are several other teams sporting a surplus of catchers, such as the Blue Jays and the Orioles, which might make it hard to get something back for Romine.
Of course, there's still the chance that the Yankees stick with Romine and send Murphy back to Triple-A, since Murphy has an option remaining. If we're looking strictly at their 2015 spring training performances as of today, Romine is playing better than Murphy (.214/.313/.286 compared to .095/.095/.143), but it's the smallest of small sample sizes. If Murphy goes to Scranton, then that might mess with the development of Gary Sanchez, who could be the starting catcher at Triple-A, but would likely go back down to Double-A to make room if he needed to. Whatever their decision, the Yankees probably won't make it until the end of spring training, just in case anyone gets hurt.