MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees' Francisco Cervelli Could Be A Fit At Catcher For Pirates, NY Post Speculates

The New York Post:

The Pirates have prioritized finding a catcher this offseason, which could make them a match with the Yankees. The Yankees are expected to keep Russell Martin, who cannot be a free agent until after the 2012 season, and try to make Jesus Montero his primary backup.

The Yankees can dangle Austin Romine, but they would like to put him at Triple-A as an option in case Montero cannot handle major league catching.

The Yankees would definitely trade Francisco Cervelli, but will the Pirates or any other team look at him as a potential starter and also feel he is a safe acquisition after incurring a series of concussions?

This isn't the first time the Post has connected Cervelli to the Pirates - in August, they reported that the Pirates almost traded Brad Lincoln for him. I guess there's no good reason to be opposed to the Pirates acquiring Cervelli, but I wouldn't want them giving the Yankees anything too interesting in return. Most Yankees fans don't think much of Cervelli's defense, and his offense leaves a lot to be desired as well. He has also been hurt a lot and has had three concussions, as the quote from the Post suggests. You could certainly argue that he'd be an upgrade over what the Pirates currently have, although most MLB-caliber catchers would be.

Romine was 22 last year and didn't improve much after repeating Class AA. He wouldn't be a bad guy to have in the system, but he's not a solution to the Pirates' current catcher issues, and I doubt the Bucs would have much interest, given that they already have Tony Sanchez at approximately the same stage of his development.

Via Tim.

Update (by Vlad): Coincidentally, the Yankees' 2012 ZiPS projections were released yesterday. Their forecast for Cervelli isn't good: A .255/.321/.343 batting line within the Yankees' park and league context, which translates into a 75 OPS+. Offensively, ZiPS sees him as the fifth-best-hitting catcher currently in the Yankees' system for 2012, behind Montero, Martin, 19-year-old Gary Sanchez, and Austin Romine. He drops to sixth if you include Posada, who's listed as a 1B. His three most comparable batters are Larry GonzalesClay Hill, and Kirt Manwaring.

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