The Pirates have signed catcher John Ryan Murphy to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, reports Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic (via Twitter). He’s represented by ISE Baseball.
Murphy, 28, spent the bulk of the 2019 season with the D-backs, although he finished out the year with a brief stint in the Braves organization. He’s a light-hitting backstop who’s generally considered to be among the game’s premier options in terms of pitch framing. Murphy was once considered a solid catching prospect with the Yankees and Twins, but to this point in his career he’s managed only a .219/.265/.357 batting line through 674 plate appearances. He hit well, particularly relative to other catchers, up through the Double-A level but owns a tepid .244/.306/.380 line through parts of five Triple-A seasons.
Pittsburgh’s catching mix is fairly open at the moment. Jacob Stallings is the favorite to handle starting duties after posting a respectable batting line and playing strong defense in 2019. Luke Maile joined the organization as a free agent and was given a 40-man roster spot, placing him in line to serve as the backup to Stallings. Murphy, though, will provide some competition for Maile (a high-end framer himself) and can otherwise serve as an experienced depth option in the upper minors if he’s unable to break camp with the team.
Nice safe signing
This is quite the fall from future hall of famer as a Yankees prospect to a minor league contract signing at 28 years old…
Geesch!!! Can they get more bottom of the barrel? I’m thinking that this just could be a rough year for the Bucs.
Wow. That’s a bold statement, Cotton.
I’d much rather have Murphy on the roster than Maile.
How many former Yankee catchers have been on the Pirates now? Martin, Cervelli, JRM. Austin Romine after his contract up next?
(I’m aware this is just a Minor league deal right now)
And how many helped the bucks for a legit playoff? How many ex Sox (Ellsbury) helped the Yanks?
You forgot Stewart
This is for the negative yinzers. The bucs are not going to sign a big free agent. No sense this year. They are rebuilding. Anything big will be by trade. Now if they are hovering close to 500 at the end. Then possibly next year they could do a free agent. Give the new management a chance. Inly been 2 months. Like oddball said in KELLY’S HEROS negative vibes negative vibes
rebuilding but always refuse to commit to it. its not a rebulid if you only sell of some assets or trade for assets while trading them away. they are in a holding pattern, as they have been for years.
You are correct sir. Rebuild and do it right. I’d hold Archer and Bell to the deadline but they should be seriously considering offers for Marte, Frazier, Kela, maybe even Musgrove.
Should have traded the pedophile when they had the chance. But NH was holding out and doing nothing.
keep Bell and hope he has a 1st half like last year and trade him at the deadline.
Trade Kela at the deadline cause RP get more of a return at deadlines than offseasons
I find it wiser for both parties to move Archer if they could. He needs a change of scenery and they need a starting pitcher and some kids to fill their farm.
id keep Bell and look for an extention at this point, barring a huge offer.
@Kermit Jagger. I am sure they are seriously considering offers on those and other players. I hope that Cherington proceeds as he has in the past . He acted with patience in his prior positions. I would like to see moves made but only if they are good baseball moves and not just a move to placate the fan base.
Re Vasquez. NH was right to hold out for a better deal because he and not one of us knew what Vasquez was doing in his free time. Hindsight tells us we wish he dumped him for something. At the time, I applauded him for not just dumping him for a middling offer.
Hindsight yes, we should have dumped him. But I thought we should have dumped him anyway. Closers are a dime a dozen. Even the Bucs have found closers with relative ease. Go back to 2011. Hanrahan, Grilli, Melancon, Watson (should never have been a closer to begin with), then Vazquez. They’ve always been able to find one.
Well Keola and a few others can replace Valquez. I am not horribly upset Valquez wasn’t traded last offseason. Why give away a guy like we did with Cole? NH was on the block after that lackluster trade and the Archer trade was the final nail in his coffin. 2 years of watching Archer under performing was enough to make changes the Pirates did. It wasn’t just Archer, but the pieces in the Cole trade like Moran and Musgrove tanked again.
But some of the guys from the bullpen from 2 years ago who hit the Tommy John bug, will be back this year. As awful as the Pirates look this season, I am not disappointed if these guys start the year in the pen again instead of working out in Florida or Triple A. The team needs pitching and maybe one of these Tommy John boys from 2 years ago surprise us once again. It won’t hurt the team to see where these guys are at after a off year on the ML club. Pirates aren’t going anywhere soon.
It’s clear PIT is hurtling toward an inevitable rebuild, but it would seem to me that instead of burning off seasons of placeholders behind the plate it would be more productive to acquire a young C prospect with tons of upside and develop him at the major league level. Maybe they’ll get something like that back in a Marte/Bell/Frazier deal.
I would say that is the idea. That was part of what they tried to obtained from the Dodgers for Vasquez but were not successful. Would think Chengton would be on that page as well
Stop being a arm chair GM and start thinking about the bigger picture. This signing is just depth and options if Stallings and/or Murphy goes on the IR or don’t work out to expectations. It’s a low cost move that any organization lacking catching depth, would do. Even if they trade Marte for a catcher prospect, it doesn’t hurt to have this guy around for the depth.
I really don’t have high expectations this year or in the near future. I believe that the team would get better at the ML level. But that starts with the farm system. You need a strong farm system to support a competitive major league team. Injuries happen throughout the season and this is where you need your system. Example, Yankees first month had 2/3 of their OF on IR and several players in the INF and pitching. They used their farm system and stayed within reach of their division. I found that very impressive and bold. Yankees aren’t the only team to rely on the farm system when injury or unfortunate events happen. Let’s face it, not every player on the roster is going to play every game or start because injuries happen. Pirates lost several players last season and found some gems in the process. Will these gems amount to anything this season? That is what we should be watching this season. It’s going to be a rough year, but guys like Newman, Reynolds, Keller, and so on, will be playing their second year in the majors. This will be a clear test to these young guys as the league adjust to them. Not to mention Hayes is knocking at the door for the 3B position. We could see him up no later than July. I am excited to see his potential in the majors. I also want to see what Craig at 1B can do and why I support a Bell trade. Craig has more power than Bell but may not have the OBP or batting average. Craig also is slightly better defensively than Bell. I am all for Bell being moved as I am with Marte being traded. Both should bring back a nice haul of prospect and/or major league ready prospects/players. Bell is classified as DH in the AL. There is a few clubs in the AL that has what the Pirates need. Catching and pitching! They will get a few OF and INF depth options for the farm system with the trades, but pitching and catching is what is really needed.
I like it. Focus on catchers who make our pitching staff better (improve Archers trade stock) and not so much on their offensive production. Then find a better catching prospect who is a year or two away.
Never forget the Yankees traded John RYAN Murphy for Aaron Hicks straight up lol
no that was J.R. Murphy
that Moya for Murphy trade really looked like it would be a steal for the DBacks at the time. wonder what the heck broke in Moya.
I would not call trading for Murphy at that time a steal. He was already light hitting and was signed as one of three catchers they carried on the roster to split time behind the plate to form the so called “3 headed monster”.
Good pickup by the Pirates. I wrote up a bit for an Indians forum breaking down the available free agent catchers after the Haase trade. Murphy was basically the best left if you like defense-first catchers. Most of the free agent catchers left rank near the bottom of BP’s framing stats, and also have negative blocking stats.
The best free agent catcher left (not including Russ Martin?) is probably Caleb Joseph at this point. Or you could take a gamble on someone who hasn’t made the show yet/doesn’t have a lot of available data. Raffy Lopez, Rob Brantly, Steven Baron and Joe Hudson are your other most appealing choices if you’re looking for AAA depth at this point.
Just one of those guys people love but doesn’t exactly put it all together. Lol
Murphy must have killed someone famous or will someday. Who else goes by three names?
Dewey – not everyone was blessed with a Ducktale name like yours. Lots of guys named John & gals named Mary go by 1st & middle names. It’s really not that big of a deal.
I don’t think Dewey has ever been down south.
Actually, I once spent six weeks in a Piggly Wiggly state… Come to think of it, I once dated a Mary Katherine. She’s never killed anyone famous, at least not yet.
fair and safe depth signing. decent defense. If he can get any of his bat back could make a quality backup.
With all the other ‘cheap’ quality backstops off the market like Castro… they have to find some quality in either trade or FA… Russell Martin is about the only one i can think of that should be better than everything they’ve gotten so far, likely a quality backup to Stallings. (and a fan favorite when he was here) Half PR Stunt, Half filling a hole.
Wonder why Diaz hasn’t been picked up yet? A couple of years ago he was the future for the Bucs.
He signed with the Rockies on a minor league contract. The Pirates were putting a high value on Catcher defense and pitch framing then
Diaz got picked up by the Rockies I think to appease Arrendo.
Not sure why JR Murphy can’t seem to stick anywhere
Johnnybadd – who’s Arrendo?
I’d be fine with these depth signings if they did something more, but I have no reason to believe they will. It’s not going to break the bank to sign a decent catcher like Russ Martin to a 1 year deal. You would think they’d keep in mind that the fanbase has zero trust in the ownership and at least TRY to get some of that back. The inaction has got to stop, just fully commit to a rebuild.
Murphy is a minor league depth and maybe an emergency back up catcher. He’s well regarded in pitch framing, but he can’t control the run game and he allows too many passed balls. Coupled with his inability to hit at the MLB level, he’s not really a good option offensively or defensively, but it’s not like he’s going to hurt the team on a minor league contract.
this should put them over the top! another joke
Good thing they got rid of Huntingdon so that Cherington can execute the exact same plan with half the budget.