Francisco Cervelli should not be traded before the start of the season

Cervelli catching in 2010.

Cervelli catching in 2010.

There were some rumors about the Yankees trading Francisco Cervelli for bullpen or infield help as a result of his hot start in spring training, but the Yankees should wait until July if they are going to trade him.

There was some speculation about a week before the Yankees played two games in Panama, and then there was also some speculation after he was brought to travel for the games in Panama at the last minute instead of Brian McCann, but as of March 14, the Yankees don’t have any imminent trades for him. It doesn’t seem like he will be able to currently get the Yankees enough right now to significantly improve, so they should wait a few months on a trade.

He has started spring training with stats better than he could have expected coming in. He obviously deserves the back-up position behind McCann. Cervelli has played in 10 games so far and has a .480 average, eight runs scored, three homers and has driven in six runs. These stats definitely prove that he is locked in so far, but the only true indication of if he is substantially improved as a hitter is if he has success in the regular season.

If he has between a .300 and a .310 average as the back-up in the middle of July, the Yankees should be able to get another quality arm in the bullpen or a third baseman that could replace Kelly Johnson if he struggles. If he is hitting in .300 or higher in July then he would have proved to another team that he could help them in their playoff push down the stretch.

Another reason that it is important to keep Cervelli is that he would be able to capably replace McCann in case of an injury. McCann was an All Star in seven of his past eight seasons, and he has hit 20 or more homers in seven of his eight season as the starting catcher for the Atlanta Braves. However, he played in 121 and 102 games in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The Yankees definitely hope he can rebound with at least 135 games played this season.

McCann will be able to DH with the Yankees, so that could give the back-up catcher, Cervelli, extra at-bats. Cervelli has also proven that he has a positive relationship with the pitchers and that the pitchers like throwing to him. It can’t hurt to keep a back-up catcher around who four out of the five starting pitchers have experience with.


One of the pitchers that Cervelli and McCann have been catching is Dellin Betances, and he has continued to prove that he deserves to start the season in the Bronx. He has one minor league option remaining, but has proven that he shouldn’t be sent down to AAA Scranton based on only allowing one run and three hits during his 9.0 innings pitched (six games) of spring training. He allowed his first run in Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Braves.

Betances, with his excellent 96 MPH fastball and knuckle curveball combo, should start the season in the seventh inning to lead up to Shawn Kelley and David Robertson. He seems ready to continue his previous success from last season pitching in relief with Scranton and so far this season in spring training.


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