BRADENTON, Florida (93-7 THE FAN) – Change is never easy, especially when it involves the departure of the two best players on a team. While fans may still be seething over the trades of Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen though, the month that’s passed seems to have given perspective to the veteran leaders on a team that doesn’t have much expected of it outside its own clubhouse.
“It’s ok,” said Francisco Cervelli. “We’re going to do our thing, but we’re going to win. That’s the plan.”
At the same time, Cervelli admitted it will obviously be harder to do that without McCutchen and Cole.
“It’s tough. You’re taking… Andrew, for me, was the King of Pittsburgh. Andrew was everything for the Pirates. Cole was the number one guy, best arm I’ve ever seen in my life. It was sad, but we’ve got to move forward. We got people who can do an amazing job, and young guys. They’re going to be superstars soon. We’re going to be fine. Best of luck to those guys, they’re still family for us, but we’ve got to move forward.”
Both Cervelli and Ivan Nova believe that part of moving on includes being leaders, but don’t think they necessarily need to change anything about the way they act to embrace a leadership role.
“You’ll see the same guy. I’m the same guy that was here last year,” explained Nova. “Nothing is going to change. I’ll be here to help anyone I can help. Of course you’re trying to [show] the youngest guys the right way, put them in the right spot, and help them out.”
Cervelli concurred that he’s not planning on changing. At the same time, his and Nova’s attitude of quiet perseverance in the face of the franchise’s most tumultuous offseason in years seems to be setting an early tone in a clubhouse that could be shocked or downtrodden, but instead has an undercurrent of quiet resolve.
“I’m gonna be me,” said Cervelli. “This is a young team, capable of doing a lot of good things, but we have to start now. The mentality has to be from day one, ‘It’s good to be the underdog. It’s good to be off the radar.’”