PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — The Pirates say they have acquired catcher Francisco Cervelli from the New York Yankees in exchange for reliever Justin Wilson.
Mainly a backup with the Yankees, the 28-year-old Cervelli – from Venezuela – batted .301 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 49 games last season.
The Pirates could have an opening at catcher if they are unable to re-sign Russell Martin, a free agent who declined the team’s $15.3 million qualifying offer after helping Pittsburgh to consecutive playoff berths.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that this trade does not change the Pirates’ pursuit of Martin.
The energetic Cervelli was once a backup to Martin with the Yankees.
The left-handed Wilson and his upper-90s (mph) fastball were a vital part of the Pirates’ bullpen this year. He went 3-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 70 appearances, striking out 61 in 60 innings.
Cervelli is a .278 career hitter who has been slowed by various injuries throughout his career.
He also served a 50-game suspension in 2013 for his role in the Biogenesis drug scandal.
660 WFAN New York Yankees reporter Sweeny Murti joined the Starkey and Mueller show to talk about what sort of player the Pirates are getting in Cervelli.
“There’s not a lot to not like about Francisco Cervelli, it’s just that he’s not Johnny Bench,” Murti said.
Murti went on to describe what sort of player Cervelli is and if he can be an everyday starting catcher for the Pirates.
“There are people who believe he has the ability to play everyday,” Murti said. “Offensive stats, I think it’s a little bit of a mystery there because it’s only such a small sample.
Click the audio link below to hear more from Murti on the Pirates latest acquisition.
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