Welcome to September, folks. The Yankees officially have one month left (and really, probably less) in order to get their tails in gear and make a playoff push. However, September is always fun for the expanded roster, and the call-ups that come along with it. Even though these guys may see limited playing time due to the time crunch the Yankees find themselves in, it’s still fun to see which guys could have future roles on the 2014 team:
A likely candidate to make the 2012 roster out of Spring Training, Cabral fractured his elbow as was lost for last season. (The LOOGY role went to Clay Rapada, instead.) Just 24 years old, Cabral could be the replacement for Boone Logan, who is due to be a free agent this coming winter and would likely command a pretty significant sum. Across A+, AA and AAA (rehab process) this summer, Cabral has a bloated 5.40 ERA, but what really stands out are the strikeouts: 40 in 36 IP, 10.6 K/9 (!!). Moreover, he has given up only two homers on the year. Likely, Huff and Logan would get the nod before Cabral if the Yankees needed to get another left on a 25-man roster tomorrow, but with this season of rehab behind him, look for Cabral to make the team- and a big impression- in Spring of 2014.
Sep 2, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Cesar Cabral (64) delivers a pitch during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. Yankees won 9-1. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Murphy hit .269/346/.426 between Trenton and Scranton this past season. Without the benefit of being familiar with the pitching staff, and the obvious playoff race, it’s unlikely that Murphy will see much time. However, should the Yankees find themselves out of the race, Murphy might see some action, if only to get his bat in the lineup. While the Yankees’ two catchers, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine, are pretty light-hitting, Murphy has 14 homers and almost 50 RBI to his credit this season. Though Stewart is out of options and isn’t a free-agent until 2014, the Yankees could use Murphy as a catcher next season, keeping the platoon, in order to get some more offense at the position (and provided they don’t make a move for a catcher). To that end, having Murphy makes either Romine (options, FA in 2019, 1st time arbitration eligible in 2015) or Stewart (FA in 2017, 1st time arbitration eligible in 2014) expendable for Brian Cashman, should he see a need.
Technically, Huff was called up to the majors prior to the roster expansion, but his impact can already been seen, as he has replaced Phil Hughes in the starting rotation- against the Red Sox in this weekend’s huge series, no less. (No pressure, kid.) Granted, Huff has had just roughly 13 IP in the majors, but he has held his own both during that time, and the time spent in the minors. In his MLB action, Huff holds a 4.05 ERA (caused by an inflated, bad May appearance) but the BAA is only .195. Additionally, in almost 40 IP at Scranton and Columbus (Indians affiliate) this year, he has a respectable 3.90 ERA in 92 IP. Most significant, he has a strikeout an inning, with 92 Ks on the year to only 22 walks. I’m not nominating Huff to the be the next starter, but there’s reason to believe he could hold his own for an inning’s worth of use, especially if the Yankees make the post-season- and definitely at the expense of a confounding Joba Chamberlain. Huff isn’t a long-term solution, but he may be a better solution on the roster, even if he is a lefty, instead of Chamberlain at this point, should the Yankees find themselves re-tooling another 25-man setup come October.
Those are just a few of the guys called up by the Yankees. While we are familiar with the work of some of the others- Preston Claiborne, Dellin Betances, Brett Marshall, etc.- it will be interesting to see which of these guys will shine in their first call-up, and which has the chance to impact the team moving forward. So, Yankees fans: which player are you the most excited to see from the list of call-ups? Who’s going to make the biggest impact?