This tidbit has been in the Yankees media game notes ever since Mark Reynolds made his debut on Friday:
The Yankees have used 50 players this season (19 pitchers, 3 catchers, 17 infielders, 10 outfielders, 1 DH), tied with the Cubs for most in the Majors … have exceeded their total from all of last year (45 in 2012: 22 pitchers, 3 catchers, 10 infielders, 10 outfielders) … have used a Major League-high 31 position players (Miami is second in the Majors, having used 26) … the franchise record for players used in a season is 51, accomplished twice (2008 and 2005).
With basically a month and a half to go, surely the Yankees can get at least one more guy in a game and tie the franchise record for players used. It’s not exactly the kind of record a team wants to achieve, but it would certainly seem fitting in this season of Chris Nelson, Chris Bootcheck and a whole lot of Chris Stewart.
So, with September less than two weeks away, who’s you’re pick for No. 51?
A few possibilities…
He’s not on the 40-man roster, but he has to be added this offseason anyway to protect him from the Rule 5. If the Yankees want to use the expanded roster to add the customary third catcher, Murphy would be the obvious choice given the strides he’s made offensively and defensively this season. He might also be the best bet of any position player considering other September call-up options David Adams and Melky Mesa have already made their season debuts.
He’s been shutdown with some shoulder tightness, and that might keep him from getting a late-season call-up to finally make his Yankees debut. But he is on the 40-man, and he has pitched pretty well in the minors. Being healthy enough to pitch might be his most significant obstacle. Obviously the Yankees would like to get something out of Pineda, but they’re not going to take any sort of senseless risks with him, especially if it’s just to have him pitching in a sort of mop-up role in September. Plenty of guys can do that.
He’s a Double-A pitcher with a 4.09 ERA and only one game of Triple-A experience, but he might make sense for three reasons. He’s left-handed, he’s healthy and he’s on the 40-man. Brett Marshall has really struggled this season, and Pineda, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Jose Ramirez are all on the disabled list. If the Yankees are looking for an extra pure mopup guy who can give distance in blowouts, Turley could get the call by default just to eat innings and get his feet wet.
Aside from one pretty rough outing, Whitley’s pitched very well lately. He might have been a call-up candidate earlier in the year — maybe when Preston Claiborne came up — had he not been injured to start the season. This is Whitley’s second year with good Triple-A numbers, and he can pitch multiple innings if necessary, so there’s some obvious logic in bringing him up to play a short-term role with an eye toward something larger in the future. He’s not on the 40-man, but he’s kind of like Murphy in that the Yankees will probably want to protect him from the Rule 5 draft this winter anyway.
Maybe not a name that jumps out at you, but Herndon twice made more than 40 appearances with the Phillies before have elbow problems and eventually Tommy John surgery last year. He’s been working his way back this season and has pitched well in the minor leagues. If the Yankees are thinking of putting on the 40-man this offseason and letting him compete for one of several bullpen openings next spring, a September call-up would make obvious sense.
You might remember Cabral because he nearly made the team last spring before an elbow injury forced him to miss the season. He’s been climbing back through the minors this season, and he’s been outstanding against lefties since getting to Triple-A. Again, he’s not on the 40-man — and the 40-man is tight — but by adding Cabral to be a second lefty, the Yankees could free David Huff to serve as more of a normal extra long man. Whether Cabral gets a shot probably depends on how badly the Yankees think they need another left-on-left guy, and whether the Yankees think Cabral might be able to take Boone Logan’s place next season.
Associated Press photos of Murphy and Whitley