As I’ve done with most of my posts this season, I’m writing this as the previous night’s game is going on. Like I always say, the player I talk about could end up doing something to make this scheduled post look bad. But, with this player, the chances are pretty slim.
From July through Monday, Francisco Cervelli had a .494 OPS. Yes, that’s right. His OPS from July through August 9th was under .500. Extending that admittedly small sample back to June doesn’t help much (.510 OPS). This wouldn’t be so bad, as Ben Kabak wrote the other day. Quoth Mr. Kabak:
As a back-up catcher, we could tolerate 100-150 plate appearances of Francisco Cervelli, but he’s now at 239 PAs. His playing time is in no danger of lessening any time soon.
This really wouldn’t be so bad if not for Jorge Posada’s perpetually losing fight with Father Time. The annoying thing, though, is that the Yankees are stuck with Cervelli as the back up.
Chad Moeller is not on the 40-man roster and he’s definitely not the type of player you DFA someone for. Wilkin De La Rosa has pitched very poorly this year with Trenton and is getting up there in age so maybe he could be replaced, but I think the Yankees will save that bullet for someone else.
If (when) Cervelli’s struggles continue, the clamoring for Jesus Montero to be called up will most definitely intensify. All year I’ve been against calling up Jesus Montero, and I’ll stick to that side of the argument now. The acquisition of Lance Berkman to be the primary DH pretty much shoots all hope of Montero being called up because that means the Yankees will at least try to have Jorge Posada catch more than he DHs. If the Yankees had not traded for Lance Berkman and planned to use Jorge Posada as the primary DH, calling up Montero would make much more sense. Now, it doesn’t.
Calling up Montero at a time when he cannot catch the majority of innings is unwise. His biggest hole right now is defense and the only way to fix that is to let him work on it consistently. Right now, he would likely not be able to do this in the Bronx. That reason is also why the Yankees cannot option Cervelli to AAA.
Frankie clearly needs some more seasoning, but if he’s at AAA, who’s going to do the catching? As I’ve said, Montero needs to be catching and you’re sure as hell not going to DH Cervelli with guys like Juan Miranda and Jorge Vazquez in the mix. So, for now, the Yankees are stuck with Francisco Cervelli as the back up (who gets a lot of playing time) catcher. Maybe he can find some of that BABIP luck from April and May (.375 and .359) in the meantime.