Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Offseason DFA Candidates

Aug 31, 2020; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tyler Bashlor (67) delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers in the seventh inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 31, 2020; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tyler Bashlor (67) delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers in the seventh inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 21, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher John Ryan Murphy (18) singles against the Milwaukee Brewers during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Pittsburgh won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 21, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher John Ryan Murphy (18) singles against the Milwaukee Brewers during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Pittsburgh won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

John Ryan Murphy

When the Pittsburgh Pirates signed catcher John Ryan Murphy to a minor league contract in the offseason it was a bit of a surprise. The Pirates signing JRM was not a surprise, but getting the veteran catcher on a minor league deal was a bit of a surprise.

The Pirates brought JRM in to provide organizational catching depth behind MLB catchers Jacob Stallings and Luke Maile. Well, after Maile underwent season-ending wrist surgery during summer camp, this opened the door for JRM to spend the season on the MLB roster.

JRM accumulated 63 plate appearances in 25 games played with the Pirates in 2020. In these 63 PAs, JRM hit for a .172/.226/.207 slash line and a wRC+ of 20. While he continued to be a plus defender with a 2.1 dWAR, +1 Defensive Runs Saved and a +0.8 framing runs added, the offense was just not good enough for JRM.

With Maile set to return in 2021 and Stallings entrenched as the starting catcher for the Pirates, it would not be a surprise to see JRM get DFA’d at some point this offseason. He may make it to spring training with the club to keep catching dpeth, but it would not be a surprise to see him be DFA’d if/when he fails to make the MLB roster, if not sooner.

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