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It’s not as crazy as you might think. Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News did a piece on Cervelli this morning, which included some insight into how the powers that be feel about Cervelli. He writes:

Cervelli, who turns 24 next month, was a revelation last season for the Yanks as a fill-in when Posada and former backup Jose Molina got hurt. From May 7-31, he appeared in 15 games. Overall, he hit .298 with a .309 on-base percentage and .372 slugging percentage in 42 games. He hit a noteworthy homer in Atlanta to key an important rally – his first career blast – and knocked in 11 runs. He also appeared briefly in the division series and ALCS.

But what really impressed the Yankees was his catching and handling of pitchers. Joe Girardi said he believed Cervelli could one day be a No. 1 catcher and pitchers such as CC Sabathia raved about him. Not bad for a guy who is generally skipped over when folks talk about Posada’s eventual replacement.

My first reaction is probably the same as most readers. That Francisco is an excellent backup, but probably can’t hit enough to hold down the position on a team like the Yanks full time. But don’t dismiss the idea. With all the questions surrounding Montero’s glove, Austin Romine being at least 2 years away and Jorge due to turn 39 on August 17th, there could be a period of time where he becomes the full-time Catcher. Girardi and the pitchers will love it, but ‘m sure many fans will miss Jorge’s firepower. Fans should remember that the first big winning streak of 2009 was when Posada was injured and Cervelli was behind the dish. During the May time period when Posada was injured, the team  was 16-7 and enjoyed a 9 game winning streak. The Red Sox have moved in the direction of Pitching and Defense, and in the post-steroid era the pressure on teams to have a slugger at every position is nowhere near as great. The classic way to build a winning team is with defense up the middle, and Frankie fits that formula.

photo courtesy of Bronx Baseball Daily

11 Responses to “Could Posada’s heir be Frankie Cervelli?”

  1. The we need an all star at every position crowd will not like the sound of this.

    If he could maintain .700 OPS with very good defense/handling, he would be fine. People cant just look at it as he is replacing Posada so he has to provide equal production. He would only need to produce like an 8th or 9th hitter to be effective. And increased production elsewhere in the lineup would makeup for posada’s bat. Maybe Montero is a beast in the DH spot and outproduces anything Matsui provided.  (Quote)

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  2. I certainly think so. While it is only a small serving size, Cervelli almost hit .300 and statistically he was better defensively behind the plate than Molina was. I am actually slightly excited to see what we get from him this season.  (Quote)

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  3. Fair or not, precedent could be set by how long the Yankees stick with Gardner in LF. Then again, the Frankie Blue Eyes case is different, because he’ll be playing a position at which offense is not expected. I’d like to see him get a full year in first, just to see how he hits in more than 106 PAs. If he can bring his IsoD up to something better than it was last year (.009?!?!) and maintain at least a resemblance of his decent contact skills in the minors (.273 avg, .53 BB/K), then I’d be willing to give him a hold-over starting job.  (Quote)

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  4. I think he could be. Remember that posada wasn’t a great prospect. Look at his minor league numbers. The obp is good but other numbers aren’t great.  (Quote)

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  5. I like Frankie Cervelli a lot, and I’m psyched he’s going to be the backup next season. But if he’s the starting catcher, the Yanks probably have a problemm, ala 2008. Probably. If he could manage to get on base enough so he’s not an out-machine (say… a .330 OBP), I think his defense is good enough to make him a useful starter (though not as useful as Jorge, who is a borderline HOFer). But a .330 OBP is likely a stretch. Cervelli has barely played at AA. His major league numbers are in so small a sample as to be useless (for projection).

    So no, the Yankees do not have to have a C who hits like Jorge (a MONSTER hitter for a C) if his other talents compensate. Cervelli’s defense > Posada’s defense (and his baserunning has to be better too). How much better is hard to say. It’s a lot easier to measure the gap at the plate. And it’s a gaping chasm.  (Quote)

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  6. I think it depends on how well Gardner hits. If Gardner is poor out there and they dont replace him (being satisfied with his defense), I cant see them going with Cervelli and Gardner at the bottom for an extended stretch. But if Gardner performs or they replace him with a good hitter, I could see Cervelli getting the job strictly on a temporary basis until they produce someone better.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    I think that’s fair, but the question will be ‘who replaces him’? Let’s just say Jorge gets hurt and/or his bat slows down substantially. Montero’s bat is ready but his glove isn’t. Mauer signs with Minny. We’ll have a year or two where Frankie would become the everyday Catcher by default.  (Quote)

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  7. Cervelli should have a lot more playing time this year, maybe 60(+/-) games. I still think they will try the Joe/Posada break in years with Posada/ Cervelli.  (Quote)

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  8. Joe Mauer please  (Quote)

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  9. Big big questions on Cervelli’s bat still. I’m going to wait on this one.  (Quote)

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