For the first part of the offseason the Pinstriped Bible staff will be grading 35 of the Yankees' main contributors to the 2013 roster. Their entire season will be taken into account, even if part of it came at the minor league level. We continue this series with Francisco Cervelli.
2013 Statistics: 17 games, .269/.377/.500, 143 wRC+, .385 wOBA, 3 HR, 0.8 fWAR
2014 Contract Status: Arbitration Eligible
Francisco Cervelli was, somehow, part of Brian Cashman's ingenious plan to replace Russell Martin. Cervelli, along with instant F grade Chris Stewart, were going to be a dynamic duo of backup catchers fused into one main catcher. We all laughed, cried, and fumed at this plan because Francisco Cervelli was a huge risk and Chris Stewart was Chris Stewart. Surprisingly enough, Cervelli wound up being better than serviceable. If he had played the entire season, his report card would look better than it currently does. Slightly.
Cervelli not playing is the primary reason why he is getting a big red F stamp on his report card. The injury to his right hand on April 26th followed by a previous elbow injury rearing its ugly head during his recovery kept Cervelli out for the entire year. This was the time for him to show the Yankees what he could really do. In April, he was doing just that. Just to put things into perspective and make you shudder a smidgen, Cervelli's three home runs in 17 games and 61 plate appearances is just one, yes one, dinger shy of Chris Stewart's home run total in 109 games and 340 plate appearances. All that Stewart pain was caused by Cervelli being out for so long.
Then this little matter called the Biogenesis scandal came into play. You may have heard something about it. It turns out Francisco Cervelli's name was linked to it, as well as some minor third baseman named Alex Rodriguez. Cervelli was handed a 50-game suspension from MLB due to his connection to Biogenesis. Even if he had not injured and re-injured himself, him agreeing to the suspension without hesitation would have given more playing time to Stewart either way. Giving Chris Stewart more playing time is like saying 2 + 2 = 19 on a 1st grade math test. Instant F.
It is unknown what Cervelli could have done with a full year under his belt. His good April almost made Cashman's "Stewvelli" (copyright Tanya) combo seem intelligent. Yet, here we are, 50 suspended games and 340 Chris Stewart plate appearances later with Cervelli teetering on the edge of pinstriped oblivion. He is arbitration eligible, so the Yankees can non-tender him and just wash their hands of the whole affair. The Biogenesis debacle, his proneness for injuries, and the overall disappointment of the season behind the plate make this a pretty logical outcome. However, seeing as how they went with "Stewvelli" in the first place, logic is not assured.
More from Pinstriped Bible:
- Imagining life without Robinson Cano
- Yankees Prospects: Rafael De Paula makes Baseball America's top 20 list for the South Atlantic League
- Yankees 2013 Roster Report Card: Robinson Cano
- MLB News: Managerial changes from across the league
- Revisiting the Pinstripe Alley/Pinstriped Bible preseason Yankees predictions