This is one roster spot that, if some sort of spring training resumes, could hinge on what happens in those games. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic suspending Grapefruit League play, minor league signee, and non-roster invitee, John Ryan Murphy was leading the Pittsburgh Pirates in home runs hit.
That power surge from Murphy may have been influencing the decision of Pirate brass. Entering the spring the plan was for free agent signing Luke Maile to back up Jacob Stallings. However, Maile still has minor league options. Due to this, the team may have optioned Maile to Triple-A to start the season and taken Murphy north in an effort to cultivate catching depth.
In addition to whichever catcher is not the back up to Stallings, there is another minor league free agent signing that will join them. This catcher is veteran Andrew Susac, who, like Murphy, received an invite to MLB spring training.
Push come to shove, Maile likely would still be the back up to Stallings. This would then put Murphy in a position to either accept an assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis or head back to free agency. We’ll go ahead and assume that Murphy accepts his minor league assignment.
Catchers – John Ryan Murphy, Andrew Susac