Dunlap: Cervelli Issue Shouldn’t Be That Complicated

Did he or didn’t he?

Colin Dunlap
July 15, 2019 - 2:20 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Related: Huntington On The Pirates Pitching Strategy, Approaching The Trade Deadline

Did he or didn’t he? 

Was there a claim he would never catch again? Is he only going to play another position?

Will he try some third base? 

Will he be a first baseman? 

What will this all do to the Pirates’ infield? 

I mean, what about second base --- can he play some there? 

So, really, is he done as a catcher? Do we know this? What’s the timeline for a comeback? 

And, again, is all of this audio recorded or not? Is it verified and chronicled on some sort of device somewhere that he said it? 

Man, have we gone ‘round and ‘round and ‘round on all this Francisco Cervelli stuff. I don’t care to know or want to know the merits of someone else’s reporting --- nor do I care to or want to dive all that deeply into the minutia of all of this. 

Something, however, is glaringly obvious to me in this Cervelli situation: Too many people are making far too big a deal out of a 33-year-old guy who has played just 34 games this season, has a history of concussions, is on an expiring contract, has hit one home run this season and has a batting average of .193. 

He’s played in just three games since May 14. 

This ain't Johnny Bench. 

This is all especially foreign to me especially considering the job that Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings have done, as they have forged together to form a good enough tandem at catcher for this club. That said, it isn’t like what’s holding the fourth-place Pirates back from making a quick jump in the standings is a healthy Cervelli. 

So the options seem slim and they seem simple. 

First, you aren’t going to find a trade partner for a catcher of that age who has been injury-prone, especially with concussions. So you can forget about that. 

Perhaps if you can manipulate the roster somehow until it expands, you keep buying time with Cervelli and then let him grab a few ceremonial at-bats or appearances (if you are out the race and he’s cleared to play) after the rosters balloon toward the last month of the season. 

But if you can’t do that and he’s insistent that he’s healthy and has cleared all medical protocols, the Pirates’ only true option is to DFA him. If he makes it through the process, he can be assigned to Indianapolis until the rosters expand and then be brought back up --- if that’s what he wants to do. If not, it was a great relationship but it might just have to come to an end. 

This notion, however, where Francisco Cervelli can be in control of the situation as it pertains to Pirates roster machinations needs to be ended. Certainly, there is the prorated part of his $11.5 million salary this season that will be lost, but that is the price of doing business sometimes. 

In short, there’s no diminishing what Cervelli has meant to this franchise. He’s been a mainstay through some really good times and his play on the field coupled with his personality off it has forced Pittsburgh to grow a healthy affinity for him. 

With that, though, there comes a time when business is business. For the Pirates’ front office, it’s that time --- and there aren’t a whole lot of options (if any) left for Cervelli. ​

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