What to do when Jorge and Molina return?

CC checking out schools; Coke checking out NJ
Nady cleared to play in Extended Spring

This morning, PeteAbe asked a question that is on many Yanks fans’ minds right now: “Do you keep Francisco Cervelli around when Jose Molina comes back?” Cervelli has been impressive in his short tenure. He’s played solid defense, has shown rare speed for a catcher, and hasn’t killed the team with his bat. The latest, of course, is subject to a small sample, but it’s reasonable to think he’d hit as well as Jose Molina, with the added benefit of some speed.

Dave Pinto later added his commentary:

Given that Cervelli and Molina should have about the same poor offensive production long term, I’d keep Cervelli and let Molina go. Francisco appears to be a capable defensive catcher, just like Jose. He does bring one thing to the table that makes him superior, however, and that’s speed. Cervelli’s legs haven’t worn out from catching yet, and he’s not an automatic out on a tough ground ball. It’s a small edge, but one the Yankees should take.

This takes the argument to a whole new level. Release Molina in favor of keeping Cervelli on the 25-man? That seems a bit harsh. Our own Mike A. provides the retort in Pinto’s comments: “Given that Posada isn’t a surefire bet to stay healthy, the Yanks aren’t in a position to let a quality backup catcher like Molina go just because some rook had a hot 40 plate appearances.”

The beginning of Mike’s statement says it all. Yes, Jorge will return to the lineup soon, but there is no guarantee that he’ll remain healthy for the remainder of the season. And in reality, Molina’s no guarantee either. The Yanks need to keep their options open in case something happens in July or August.

There is little chance the Yanks take anything but the safe road when their catchers return. Jorge figures to be back first, and for him the Yanks will option Cervelli. Why not DFA Cash? Again, because it’s no lock that Jorge remains healthy. If he succumbs to another injury the Yanks can simply recall Cervelli to take his place. It’s the easiest and safest way to deal with this situation.

Then, when Molina returns, the team can DFA Cash. Perhaps he re-signs, perhaps he tries his luck with another organization. In any case, that brings the Yanks back to where they started the season. If, in a stroke of poor luck, the Yanks lose both Jorge and Molina again, they’d recall Cervelli and then likely add P.J. Pilittere. If one goes down Cervelli is just a phone call away.

Yanks fans have grown fond of Cervelli, but thankfully the front office has a more objective measure of the team. They’re not going to expose themselves to an injury risk just to keep around a kid who’s performed well in a small sample. Posada – Molina is the ideal tandem at the moment. If something happens to one of them, the Yanks would still have options. However, if they fall in love with Cervelli and Posada gets hurt, their options are markedly reduced. Frankie will be the backup next year. This year, there’s no reason to keep him around if the team’s primary catchers are healthy.

CC checking out schools; Coke checking out NJ
Nady cleared to play in Extended Spring
  • MattG

    I agree with your arrangement, but you’ve written it as though condemning Cervelli to backup status permanently. Forget the short stint in the majors, which has been impressive–what about Cervelli’s minor league career indicates he can’t be a starter in this league? From my perspective, he is on the fence at the moment, and I would hate to see him languish as Posada’s caddy for the remainder of 2009.

    • Chip

      What has Cervelli done to prove he’s capable of being a starter in this league? During this “hot” streak he’s hit, he’s just barely getting balls out of the infield and getting a few lucky nubbers that he can run out. I think he’s been awesome for the third-string catcher but like I said, he’s been pretty lucky so far and is still only hitting at about Jose Molina’s career OPS+

      During his entire minor league career he’s only hit four homeruns and hasn’t slugged .400 since his 2006 season in Charleston before he got promoted. That’s a solid back-up catcher but nowhere near the offense we need from a starter. If he could increase his walk-rate (he’s only taken 1 walk in the majors so far) he could possibly come close to league average but he’d have to keep about a .380 OBP to compensate for his lack of power which probably isn’t happening.

      • MattG

        A catcher with a .380 OBP and plus defense is an All-star, not a fringe major leaguer. And I did not write that he should be a major league starter–I said it is too early to pigeon-hole him a back-up.

        With his defense, a .340/.370 line would make him one of the top 30 catchers in the world. His minor league numbers do not definitively define him as a backup. Not as a catcher, and not with his defense.

        Also, the stats you cite are often wrong or misleading: he has 7 homers in 633 minor league at bats (with 43 doubles), and he posted a .387 OB/.397 SP in the FSL at 21, which isn’t bad at all. I think your expectations for the 30th best catcher in the world are a tad high.

        • Chip

          If he could put up a .380 OBP, he could start for half of the teams in the league. Problem is, it’s incredibly unlikely he’s ever going to be more than a .320 OBP guy in the major leagues because he just doesn’t walk enough.

          As for the power, yeah I miscounted and he does have 7 homeruns but that’s still not very encouraging. And yes he does have a lot of doubles but I doubt he’s hitting those off the wall. It’s probably more a combination of him being fast for a catcher and the fielders in A ball (where he hit most of those doubles) just sucking.

          I’m not saying he’s definitely a back-up catcher but he’s hit a combined .273/.374/.381 in the low minors. That’s just not impressive at that level. If you put his 2008 season in the minor league equivalency calculator, that’s about .255/.325/.306 in the major leagues. That’s worse than Melky Cabrera’s 2008 season.

          I just want to see him put together at least half of a decent season at AAA before everybody says he should be staying around over Molina. Like Mike said, he’s had a hot 40 AB but over those 40 AB he’s only put up a OPS+ of 73 which is Molina territory. If he goes to AAA and keeps hitting everything, then he’s proven me wrong and has a chance at being a league-average catcher but I won’t be convinced until he actually does it.

          • MattG

            OK, but .255/.325/.306 isn’t bad in context: Catcher, plus defense, appropriate age for his leagues, and supposedly converting from 3B (which will tend to impact the offensive side of the ball). Is too early to decide he’s a back-up is all I’m saying.

            He has drawn walks before, though. Patience is part of his game. I would never expect this, but his minor league career is shockingly similar: http://thebaseballcube.com/players/K/Jason-Kendall.shtml

            • Chip

              I agree that .255/.325/.306 isn’t bad but it’s not anywhere near adequate. I’d absolutely love to see him break out offensively and hit even half as well as Jason Kendall but thus far he hasn’t really shown that. If he can be even league-average with the bat in AAA, then I’d be thrilled

          • Drew

            I hate to compare young guys to potential HOF’ers but I’m left with no choice in situations like this. Go look at JoPo’s MiLB #’s. While Franky doesn’t hit for HR power yet, his ops is more than respectable out of the C position. Going off A ball numbers for catchers isn’t always telling. Not only do they have a lot on their plate dealing with young, often ineffective pitchers. They also try to hit wild pitching before they have developed that ability and skill that is patience at the plate. Give it time.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    It should be noted that we’ve seen the Yanks go against the grain already this year. Pena over Berroa coming out of camp, Cervelli over Cash went Posada went down … so who knows what they do this time?

    • MattG

      Cervelli over Cash was going with the grain: Cervelli was already on the 40, Cash was not.

      To that extent, Berroa and Pena were even.

      • andrew

        Yes, but neither Pena or Cervelli had an atbat in AAA let alone the majors coming into the year, I’d say thats going against the grain a bit.

  • Zack

    “Given that Cervelli and Molina should have about the same poor offensive production long term”

    Is that fair? Molina is a career .238 hitter, and people bring up Cervilli .190 (58AB) in AAA but never bring up his .315 (73AB) in AAA last year, i’m not saying he’ll keep hitting .300 but he’s better then Molina and obviously much quicker.

    If the Yankees carry 3 catchers how much playing time will #3 actually see- 2 innings if they pinch run for posada/molina? maybe 1 start a week? If Cash stays over Cervilli is that really going to cause the Yankees to lose any games? And if the 3rd string catcher is the reason for a loss then lets be honest, there’s something wrong with the other 24 guys

    • A.D.

      Both of those numbers came at AA FYI

      • Zack

        you’re right, my fault

    • Chip

      I’m not sure where you’re getting those numbers, Cervelli has never played an inning of AAA ball. He came straight up from Trenton. You’re trying to take AA stats and extrapolate them into major league success which just doesn’t work.

      If Cervelli can hit .315/.432/.385 in AAA (his 2008 AA numbers) then I’d be convinced that he has a shot at being decent in the majors. Like I said above, Cervelli is currently hitting close to Molina’s OPS+ which isn’t all that impressive

  • Usty

    Considering Cervelli was hitting on the interstate at AA, is only 23 and hasn’t played a full season since 2007’s stint at A ball, I think it would probably be more beneficial to get him more work instead of sitting on the bench too. It’s not like they couldn’t recall him if the need arises.

  • A.D.

    I don’t see the real benefit in sending Molina packing, they owe him the money anyways, and they can easily send Cervelli down/recall him again if necessary.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Maybe we can trade Molina to the Angels and get Jeff Kennard back.

    • Zack

      he’s on cincinnati now

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Let’s not let petty technicalities get in the way of our awesome fake transactions.

        • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

          Does that mean we can offer Seattle Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvg9jo5ZxnE

            He’s got a rocket for an arm… YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE DOING!!!!

            • Will (the other one)

              Mr. Carlos, I’m sorry to inform you that your son George…is dead.

    • UWS

      You mean the next Scot Shields?

  • Al

    Personally, Cervelli’s Double-A batting average is enough to convince me to keep Molina. He is a solid defensive catcher (not as good as Molina) who got a hot start with the bat. The upgrade in speed is not enough to put an unproven catcher over Molina as a back-up. If Molina weren’t one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, then I would look more seriously at Cervelli to take his spot. But since Molina is such a great catcher, keep him.

    • MattG

      Molina is a terrific thrower. His movements behind the plate are nothing special–whereas Cervelli’s are. Reputation and experience in mind, I think Cervelli might be the better defender right now.

    • BklynJT

      Everyone says that Cervelli is just off to a hot start in double A, well I say he was just in a slump at the start of double A. BOTH small sample sizes.

      If someone’s doing well, we use the small sample size argument.
      If someone’s doing poorly, they just suck and can’t cut it.

  • http://www.onedayonejob.com/ Willy

    Although Cervelli has been pretty great in the majors so far, his minor league numbers make it hard to say whether he’ll be able to continue this. I wouldn’t have a problem with seeing him sent back down to the minors to get regular playing time. It would give the Yanks a much better idea of what kind of player he is.

    Maybe I’m taking crazy pills, but I wonder what his infield skills are like these days. I know that he was converted to catcher from infielder. If he can still handle 2B, SS, and 3B duties occasionally, maybe he could work on those in the minors and come back up in a bit as a super utility guy. That’d make him a pretty valuable dude to have around, even if his bat regresses a bit.

    • Chip

      I didn’t hear anything about him ever playing an infield position or any other position outside of an appearance in the outfield in rookie ball. If this were the case, he could be very valuable with the super-fast Gardner on the bench. I highly doubt he’s be able to play SS or 2B but if he could hold down 1B/3B/RF/C for an inning here and there, he could be pretty useful

      • http://www.onedayonejob.com/ Willy

        He’s been a catcher since he started his pro career in 2005. In 2003 and 2004 he played in the Dominican and he played SS/3B.

        At least according to this interview: http://yankees.scout.com/2/436460.html

      • MattG

        I can’t find evidence, but supposedly he is a converted 3B.

        • The Lodge

          Ken S. said something to this effect during the Orioles series.

    • Drew

      Don’t write a catcher off because of A ball numbers.

  • Chip

    This brings up another question, say Cervelli goes down to AAA in a few weeks and puts up a .300/.380/.350 line the rest of the season down there, do the Yankees resign Molina? I mean Molina isn’t a bad catcher and would probably come pretty cheap. Or would they hand Cervelli the job right out of spring training based on 50 or so PA? I have a feeling the second time through the league they might start playing a little-league outfield and those bloopers might not fall as often.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Whether its at the Majors or at Scranton, I’d say if Cervelli puts together a good 6 month season in 2009, the 2010 backup catcher job is his. If he falls off a David Ortiz Memorial Cliff, then we bring Molina back for another year.

      The bigger issue remains who will be the starting catcher for 2010. My hope is that it’s someone other than Jorge Posada. I want him to be the fulltime DH for the last two years of his contract.

      • jsbrendog

        this is my sentiment exactly. posada slides in for matusi as fulltime dh guy and you have cervelli and molina as your catchers. posada can also catch a game a week or something and he also gives you much more flexibilty. teams should not carry 3 catchers. BUT carrying a fulltime dh who can catch anywhere from 0-5 games a week who’s bat more than adeuqtely fills the dh spot is a +++++. and if we can get someone better than molina to start, then boom, he’s gone and cerveli is the backup. but me, I feel very comfrotable next year with posada as the dh and cervelli/molina splitting catching duties 85% of the time

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Here’s the “someone better than Molina to start”:

          The other Molina. Bengie.

          BOOM, THAT JUST HAPPENED.

          • jsbrendog

            ok, so bengie for 2 yrs to start, cervelli to backup and jopo as dh? i can dig it. but again, how much is bengie going to want and is he really that much better than jomo to justify giving him starter money, which someone else will definitely be willing to pay and overpay him to do, when we oculd just have jose at 1-2 mill a yr?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              how much is bengie going to want and is he really that much better than jomo to justify giving him starter money, which someone else will definitely be willing to pay and overpay him to do, when we oculd just have jose at 1-2 mill a yr?

              Jose Molina, career: .238/.278/.340 (62+)
              Bengie Molina, career: .276/.309/.417 (88+)

              I’d give him, say, a 2 year deal in the 15-20M range.

              • jsbrendog

                whats the diff in age?

              • jsbrendog

                bengie’s a yr older than jomo, a lot slower and you want to give a 36 yr old catcher 10 mil a yr for his 36 and 37 seasons???

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  As the best option out of many poorer options, yes, I want to give that 36-37 year old catcher that money. He doesn’t have Jose or Posada’s injury history, and he’s a good blend of good offense and good defense. That, plus the short length of commitment, make him appealing to me.

                  Sure, we could spend less than half of that for JoMo, but you’re getting an offensive black hole. I think the extra 4-7M per year is worth it to have Bengie’s marginal upgrade over his brother.

                • MattG

                  Bengie did not get that money before this deal, before this recession, and before he past the year when 90% of ML catchers retire or move positions. He won’t get it now. 2 years, $9MM is the best he will do.

                  And I hope he does that with someone else. .309 OBP is an offensive black hole, even if he runs into one every once in a while.

                • BklynJT

                  PWNED!

                  BOOM, THAT JUST HAPPENED!

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Bengie did not get that money before this deal, before this recession, and before he past the year when 90% of ML catchers retire or move positions. He won’t get it now. 2 years, $9MM is the best he will do.

                  Even better.

                • rbizzler

                  I am not a huge Benji guy, but his home park in SF is a deadly place for any hitter. He may be the best stopgap situation out there after the season that does not involve any significant or complicated transaction. Also, if you can upgrade production in CF, you can afford to carry a black hole at C.

                  Sorry, I should know this but does OPS+ incorporate park factors, etc?

              • MattG

                No .309 OBPs for me, please. What’s behind curtain #2?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  A bunch of other catchers who have OBP’s lower than .309.

                  Here’s your Cot’s list of FA catchers. Tell me who you like better than Bengie. Asterisks indicate the teams have club options on them, so you can cross Victor Martinez off your list already:

                  Josh Bard BOS
                  Henry Blanco SD
                  Ramon Castro NYM
                  Ramon Hernandez * CIN
                  Jason Kendall MIL
                  Jason LaRue STL
                  Victor Martinez * CLE
                  Benji Molina SF
                  Jose Molina NYY
                  Miguel Olivo * KC
                  Mike Redmond MIN
                  Brian Schneider NYM
                  Yorvit Torrealba * COL
                  Jason Varitek * BOS
                  Gregg Zaun * BAL

                • MattG

                  Trade!

                  I think I might try and add Ramon Castro, and stick with Posada/Castro another year, Cervelli in AAA, and find a bargain-bin DH. I say this with a complete understanding of the injury risk.

                • jsbrendog

                  wow the mets are effed with no schneider and castro…but i digress…

                • Chris

                  I think you’ve just proven my point about keeping Jorge as the starting C. Given all those choices, I would take my chances with Jorge.

          • Drew

            When is Yadier a FA? He’s a beast.

      • Chris

        So you strenuously object to moving Joba to the pen because it would diminish his value, but then suggest essentially the same change for Posada?

        A lot of Posada’s value is because he plays catcher. It will be much easier to find a suitable replacement at DH than it would be at C.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Apples and oranges.

          These two “debates” couldn’t possibly be more dissimilar.

          • Chip

            Exactly, there’s no proof whatsoever that Joba is more likely to be more healthy by pitching in the bullpen (in fact, it’s possibly it’s worse for his health) while having Posada catch is obviously hard on his legs. Also, moving Posada to the DH spot doesn’t effect his bat at all and you’d assume in this situation that Posada in the DH spot isn’t making you sit a superior hitter.

            • jsbrendog

              wait…you say something in comparison..he says no that comparison is not fair or pertinent…you say exactly….

              ::head explodes::

              • Chris

                Chris =/= Chip

                • jsbrendog

                  DAMN! me = epic reading comprehension fail haha

                  my bad

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Ironically, both my desire to keep Joba in the rotation and my desire to move Posada to DH are motivated by the exact same rationale: I want both these good players to play as much as possible.

              Joba stands to pitch way more innings as a starter than as a reliever. And Posada stands to get way more plate appearances as a DH than as a catcher, since he’d need more days off as a catcher.

              Moreover, moving him to DH is a sound longterm strategy, since it’s likely easier to sign a stopgap catcher (while we await our talented young catchers to develop) than it would be to sign a stopgap DH, as DH’s are generally aging, overpaid sluggers who would require a larger and longer financial committment. I like slotting Posada in at DH for two years, because it gives us good production from the DH spot without a lengthy contractual committment, keeping the DH spot available down the road for ARod or someone.

              • Chris

                The problem with this analysis is that you’re missing the other part of the equation. Who plays DH if Posada catches and who catches if he DHs? The drop-off in production from Posada to a league average DH is not nearly as large as the drop-off from Posada to a league average catcher.

                It’s far easier to find an effective DH than an effective C. Who would you have rather signed this past offseason:

                Bobby Abreu as DH or Jason Varitek as C

                They got the same deal this past offseason, and while Abreu’s fear of walls was a problem when he played RF, it’s not an issue when he’s a DH.

                Also, Posada’s hamstring injury happened while batting/running the bases, so there’s no indication that he would actually be healthier as a full time DH compared to his current role as a C most of the time and a DH most of the rest of the time.

              • Bill

                Yes, DH’s often are aging, overpaid sluggers, however that’s if you sign a “true DH” to play that role. The great thing about the DH spot is that you don’t have to be incapable of playing the field to be the DH. Ideally you use the DH spot for someone that is capable of playing defense, but is not your best defender. This allows for more lineup flexibility.

                With an aging roster the Yankees would be wise to not have any one player set as the everyday DH. There will certainly be a guy that takes more time there then others, but its nice to have flexibility there.

          • Chris

            Actually, they’re very similar arguments. You have a player who can provide superior value in one role, but there is a potential risk of injury. Instead of using him in that role, you move him to a role where he may or may not be more healthy but is guaranteed to provide less value. Just because one is a pitcher and the other a catcher doesn’t make the argument any different.

            • Chip

              That argument holds water only if relievers were proven to be healthier than starters which I haven’t seen and I don’t personally believe. Just look at what happened to Marte last season when he had to throw something like 60 pitches in Texas or how much Coke has had to pitch lately. DHing Posada keeps him much more fresh while still allowing a lot of flexibility as he can be the back-up catcher

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              No, not at all. See above.

              Preemptively moving a 23 year old starter from the rotation to the bullpen is not at all similar to moving a 38 year old catcher from behind the plate to the DH role.

              I’m not writing off the next 15 years of Jorge’s career due to the injuries he’s sustained. I’m simply trying to maximize the value of the last two years of an old guy’s career. Totally different scenario.

            • jsbrendog

              what part of posada is most important to the jankees?

              his bat.

              where will he get the most at bats?

              a position where his aging body that has shown itself to be leaning towards the more fragile side as he ages does not have to be taxed. a position with very ltitle stress put on his knees, shoulders, etc. DH!

              He can still catch occassionally, he’ll prob have to or he’ll open his big whiny mouth and complain and probably end up saying something b-jobberish or say hughes belongs in the pen or something. so you let him catch once or twice every so often.

              we have 3 upside catchers coming in the next 2-4 years. get someone (bengie doesnt sound horrible) to be serviceable. by having jopo dh its like carrying 3 catchers but not. jopo only gets pressed into catching if our tow main catchers go down so he stays healthy and themost important part o fhsi game, his bat, is allowed to mash

      • Chip

        I’d love for him to be a part-time catcher for the last two seasons a la Girardi so they can take it slow with a young catcher with a bright future but I don’t see Romine/Montero/Higawhatshisname being ready by that time

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I think regardless of what Cervelli does at the Major League or Minor League level, he’s the backup next year and Jose’s shown the door.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      I think you’re asking two different questions here.

      1. What happens if Cervelli has a good 2009 once he is re-assigned?
      2. Would the Yanks choose to let Molina walk based upon Cervelli’s PAs this season in the Bronx?

      The answers are intertwined. If Cervelli puts up good offensive numbers at AAA, the Yankees will probably be more inclined to let Molina walk. If Cervelli doesn’t put up good numbers, I don’t think the team will let his 50+ PAs in the Majors color their decision too much. They know all about small samples and how good their prospects truly are.

      That said, Molina’s only about 3 years and 10 months younger than Posada. The Yanks might want to find a younger back-up catcher if they truly believe Posada can withstand catching 100+ games in 2010 and 2011. I’m skeptical.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Given that Posada is hardly a beacon of health these days, I think you bring Molina back and enjoy the depth. It doesn’t have to be Molina either, just another established big league catcher. If Posada goes down and Cervelli is catching every day, it could get ugly fast.

      • Chip

        I agree, Cervelli is a great third option but not a very good second option when you have an old, injury-prone catcher

  • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I’ve gone back and forth on this question, but I think I’m settling on the argument that the Yankees just keep Molina as the backup for the rest of 2009, send Cervelli to AAA to get some work in until he’s needed (which he hopefully won’t be) at the MLB level, then reassess at the end of the season. I don’t think they need to keep Cervelli up in MLB as the third catcher – there’s little chance of both Posada and Molina getting injured the same day, so if he’s needed Cervelli is only a phone call away from MLB.

    The reason I waver on this question is because I’m not convinced Molina is the more effective option in 2009, but I think the improved depth at the position that is achieved by having Molina in MLB as the backup and Cervelli at AAA as a security blanket far outweighs any potential benefit of having Cervelli in MLB over Molina. Posada and Molina are both working their way back from injury, and neither is a spring chicken. It’s important to have some depth at the position.

    (And I agree with the post above re: Cash. When Posada/Molina come back, just DFA him and either try to sign him back on a MiLB deal or just let him walk.)

    • ChrisS

      … I think the improved depth at the position that is achieved by having Molina in MLB as the backup and Cervelli at AAA as a security blanket far outweighs any potential benefit of having Cervelli in MLB over Molina

      IETC.

      No reason to do anything this season, but Frankie’s cup of joe certainly does wonders for roster construction next winter.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yup.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I think the improved depth at the position that is achieved by having Molina in MLB as the backup and Cervelli at AAA as a security blanket far outweighs any potential benefit of having Cervelli in MLB over Molina.

      Bingo.

      It’s like the “Should we demote David Robertson or DFA Jose Veras” question, only 10 times greater.

      Yes, there’s a good chance that Robertson is better than Veras, but no, if you have only one spot for the two of them, you should choose to demote the kid with the option and keep the veteran on the big league club, unless there’s incontrovertible, shockingly evident reason to think that the vet is going to be craptacular and the kid is going to be a superstar.

      Cervelli might be better than Molina. He might be. Until we know for sure, we choose the option that keeps both players in our system. So, when Molina and Posada resume their roles as the two major league vets on the roster who will be catching, Cervelli goes back down.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “Cervelli might be better than Molina. He might be. Until we know for sure, we choose the option that keeps both players in our system.”

        Yup… And to take it a step further, even IF Cervelli IS better than Molina, that incremental gain (I’d imagine it would be quite small) is not worth the loss of depth the Yanks would suffer if they lost Molina and had to keep Cervelli in MLB. It’s not like we’re talking about stashing Yogi Berra in AAA so Butch Wynegar can stay on the roster, here.

        • jsbrendog

          butch wynegar is a saint!!!

  • Frank

    You send Cervelli down and let him get more experience for this season. Several of you are focusing on Cervelli’s lack of offense, but look at his defense, especially the way he blocks balls and frames pitches. He is a very sound defensive catcher. If he can hold his own offensively, he will be on the 25 man roster next season, especially since Matsui won’t be back and Posada will be DHing quite a bit.

  • ChrisS

    Fans are stupid. What do they know?

    Thankfully, the front office is teh awesome.

  • CT Yanks Fan

    Agreed – I think Cervelli has already won the back up job in 2009. I know it’s the Yankees payroll and all, but minimum makes a lot more sense than $1 million plus for Molina.

    Back to the original post … I would expect the Yanks to keep Cervelli in the majors unless they were positive Molina was 2 or 3 days away and even then Kevin Cash is not so valuable that DFAing him and worrying about losing him should even enter Cashman’s mind. Cash is beyond expendable so you keep whoever makes the Major League team better.

  • JRVJ

    Well, I do know one thing: if Cervelli is still in the minor at the end of August, I’ll bet even money that he’s called up again once rosters expand on September 1st.

    A third catcher is a much nicer thing to have when you have 30 or 35 players on your bench, and Girardi (former NL manager and a catcher himself) will surely take advantage of having Cervelli for the month of September.

    • Chip

      Most definitely he’ll be there. They had him up last September as well if I remember correctly

  • Chris

    The Yankees may also want to keep 3 catchers on the roster for some time after Posada and Molina return. In that case, I would expect them to be Posada, Molina and Cash. Let Cervelli get some real playing time in AAA, and then he can move into the backup catcher role next year.

    • MattG

      Why would they do this? They have Cervelli, with options, on the 40 man, if they need him. They did it last year because if they lost Moeller, they had nothing. There is no reason to do it again.

      • Chip

        I agree, chances are that Molina and Posada won’t go down in the exact same game. If either got hurt, you immediately have Cervelli back up and ready for the next game.

        • jsbrendog

          same game is irrelevant. swisher (wow) is the emergency catcher, just like randy velarde was if you hop in the waybackmachine.

          posada goes to the dl. wow good thing we kept cervelli in the majors! molina goes to the dl…shit, we cut cash, so now we have no one but an unproven rookie who other than 50-100 ab has never played above aa ball and no one else even remotely close to aa ball to bring up and be his backup. what then sirs? youre gonna say sign someone. who? cash will get signed by someone. if chad moeller got signed by someone you better believe cash will

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            if chad moeller got signed by someone you better believe cash will

            With absolutely zero hyperbole,

            Chad Moeller >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Kevin Cash

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

              Who are we kidding though? They both are pretty bad.

              • jsbrendog

                yeah that was my point. the difference is quite miniscule

          • MattG

            Well, the post says PJ. I’d be on board with that. No way I want to carry 3 catchers.

          • Chip

            Is the difference between Cash and PJ Pillette (sp?) enough of a difference to justify essentially wasting bench spot? I would say no but then again, it’s not my call. I doubt any teams are prepared for a situation where they have their fourth string catcher starting a good number of games for the MLB club.

      • jsbrendog

        because both posada and molina have shown they cannot stay healthy. you need to have 2 backups in case they both go down again. cervelli can be sent down and brought up on a whim so he goes down and actually gets to play everyday at aaa so they can see if he can perform or if this is a fluke. cash stays because if he doesnt you get rid of him.

        you tell me what they do if they dfa cash and then 2 weeks later molina and posada are hurt again? cervelli ANNNNNND??

        cervellli aaaaaaaaaaaand??

        littering aaaaaaaaand?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          jsb, Kevin Cash is a lifetime .184/.245/.283 hitter. When we DFA him, nobody is going to snatch him away from us. He’ll be right back in Scranton, happily accepting a paycheck.

          • jsbrendog

            yes, i agree he sucks and his being on the ml roster is flabbergastingly mindbogglingly atrocious….but you really dont think some team would be like, yeah depth is nice? you really think moeller is that much better?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              A) Yes, Chad Moeller is that much better than Kevin Cash.

              B) We DFA’d Moeller twice last season. The first time, after he cleared waivers, we called him back to the big club because we ended up putting Posada back on the DL so we kept Moeller. The second time, after we traded for Pudge, he cleared waivers again and was sent to Scranton. So, in summation, my hair is a bird, your argument is invalid.

              http://www.owned.lv/imgz/x3x16a1f2c2b9166a080dacee6997d3a2c7.jpg

              • BklynJT

                WTF… did that just happen?

          • jsbrendog

            seriously, either tony pena or girardi has to be able to still lace em up and be better than cash or moeller……

  • Will (the other one)

    Per the three-catcher musings: I wonder if we might also have to consider what’s going on with Nady here. I might be totally off base, but hear me out.

    As of right now, the team basically has a three-man defensive bench: two infielders (Pena and Berroa) and one outfielder (let’s call it Gardner based on recent history). Presuming Nady comes back soon, he adds another man to the active roster who can’t play defense (assuming the writings about his returning only as a DH are true). Combine that with the unsteady pitcher situation, which seems to shift daily and may require an extra roster spot at some point, and it’s pretty clear that there’s no way the team can carry three catchers.

    So to address the original point, then, what happens to Cervelli? Given that Posada and Molina could both be re-injured at any point, he’s gonna have to be somewhere he can play every day, because it’s pretty clear that even if he doesn’t keep up his offensive numbers he’s an asset defensively. He’s called good games this year (or at least handled the calls effectively) and it seems that the staff is comfortable with him behind the dish. And with Posada’s ability to catch full-time beyond this year very much a question mark, I don’t see how you don’t assume that Cervelli can and will play a significant role in the Bronx next year.

    So DFA cash, send Cervelli down, and see what happens with Jorge and Jose. The team loses nothing by playing things that way, everyone gets the playing time he needs, and options are open for later in the year and into the future.

    • Chip

      Couldn’t have said it any better. A bench of Nady/Molina/Gardner/Pena already constrains you quite a bit and you’d either have to send down a reliever (when they obviously don’t want to thin the bullpen anymore) or send down Gardner and expect all three outfield spots to play everyday with Pena as the emergency backup. There’s just no way that happens

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        A bench of Nady/Molina/Gardner/Pena already constrains you quite a bit.

        Disagree. A bench of Nady/Molina/Gardner/Pena has a potent bat, a stellar defensive back-up catcher, a speedy fourth OFer and a back-up middle infielder. That’s pretty much an ideal bench make-up. How does that constrain anyone? And what else would you do differently?

        • Chip

          OK maybe those weren’t the best words to use. I think our bench is perfect the way it is but how could you possibly take on of those guys out? The choice is either:

          1. Send down a reliever in order to keep a 5-man bench meaning the remaining relievers have an even harder time keeping up with the workload.

          2. Seriously screw with your flexibility. You send Pena down and you have nobody to back-up A-Rod, Jeter or Cano. You send down Gardner and you have nobody to back-up Damon/Melky/Swisher and Nady has no options so you can’t send him down.

          My point is, there isn’t a wasted spot in a Nady/Molina/Gardner/Pena bench (like there is now with Berrora just sitting there looking old). I just don’t understand how anybody can argue keeping three catchers on the 25-man roster.

  • Jay H

    Cervelli’s small sample size in the majors has been quite impressive – he certainly has demonstrated he is a good defensive catcher. When Posada comes back, I would keep three catchers – Jorge, Cash and Cervelli. Cervelli could even pinch-run for Posada and remain in the game in certain circumstances (Gardner & Pena already in the game or not wanting to burn three spots for one move…). The guy who would not remain on the 25 man for me would be Angel Berroa. Then when Molina comes back, I would still keep three catchers, however it would be Cervelli I would send down and Cash I would keep up. Francisco needs the work and regular playing time – he would not get it as the third catcher. If and when Posada and Molina prove themselves healthy – where they can both catch multiple consecutive days if needed – I would consider DFAing Cash…

    • Chip

      Who do you send down when Nady is healthy?

      • A.D.

        Angel Berroa.

        • Chip

          That’s what I would do as well, which leaves nobody to send down in order to keep three catchers

  • LiveFromNewYork

    As has been said, neither Molina nor Posada (esp Posada) are sure bets to remain healthy but when they are both healthy they work well. Cervelli has never even played AAA ball and is a very good backup but sending him down and given him more time in the minors isn’t a bad thing. Trading Molina and then having Posada go down and only having Cervelli (or Cash…ick) left is a bad thing.

    The notion to trade Molina is simply stupid. None of these guys are every day catchers so we need a few of them around and Molina’s defense is fantastic.

  • ikl

    As Posada and Molina come back, first DFA Cash, then send down Cervelli who comes back on Sept. 1st even if Posada and Molina are healthy the rest of the way. I’m kind of shocked that you think that they would keep Cash, a career sub .200 hitter while Cervelli is hitting well. Even if we lose Cash when he is DFA’d, we still have Stewart at AAA to be added to the roster if someone gets hurt. I don’t see Stewart as being particularly worse then Cash. As long as Cervelli looks to hit above .230 or so, I’d definately keep him up in favor of Cash. If he starts looking over his head, that might change things, but Cash doesn’t hit anyway, so the bar is pretty low.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Agreed.

      Kevin Cash = cannon fodder

  • Tom Zig

    who is a better overall catcher….Jose Molina or Jason Varitek

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I was about to say Molina, but now that 2009 Jason Varitek is on the Big Papi Juice, it’s probably the SuperCaptain.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        Which raises an interesting point: If Varitek doesn’t test positive for PEDs this season, baseball’s testing system sucks.

        And yes, I realize how incredibly speculative and unfair that statement is. But I don’t care.

        • Drew

          Jimmy crack corn.

  • Cor Shep

    Why is Cash playing over Pilittere?? Can anyone answer this? Is it because Pilittere needs every day at bats? Out of all of the yanks prospects he is the one I know least amount. And even if he isn’t a good prospect.. I’m sure he’s a little better than Cash.

  • Bo

    Would it kill Cervelli to play everyday in Triple A considering he never has before??

  • Drew

    I share the same exact thought as Mike. No way on earth you release Molina anytime soon. There’s no telling if Jopo will stay healthy.
    I think we all like Cervelli, and I think many of us liked him last year in ST before that idiot Elliot Johnson bowled him over.
    Cervelli has a place on the Yankees, just probably not this year, once the two catchers come back (healthy).
    If anything, I’d rather keep 3 catchers and shorten our pen one arm.

  • Tony

    We all watched Molina either (a) get worn down in two weeks of play or (b)be done as a pro. His last week or so before the injury was Cash-like in its crappiness. Molina is a useless piece. I would love to see him traded and let Cervelli stay up.

    Side note: Cash is playing way too often.

    • Drew

      JoMo had one or two bad defensive games which is what I guess you mean by looking worn down. His offense has never been good when he’s used more than once a week.
      As far as Cash;
      +1.

      • Tony

        What’s the point of keeping him around if he’s going to melt if he ever has to play 3 straight? Aren’t we saying his value is as a stopgap in case Posada is hurt again? How can that be true if he’s incapable of playing regularly?

        And while that last week was especially bad, Molina looked fatter/slower/older all season. If he’s worth anything, git r dun.

        • Drew

          Maybe these injuries are a result of over use last year. Either way, I think he’s still valuable catching at a 70/162 clip, that’s 43% of the time which may be more than we even need him if Jorge is good to go. The point of keeping him is that when he is healthy, he’s arguably the best backup C in the game. If he goes down again, Cervelli’s a phone call away. Why rush to releasing Molina?

          • Tony

            Release is dumb. Trade is smart.

            • Drew

              True but not many teams will trade for a guy that hasn’t shown he can stay healthy. Around July, if Jose is healthy and doing his thing on defense, and Jorge is healthy, I’m not sure we trade Molina. The good thing is that it can be an option, so if we get a solid prospect or a need, for our backup, it’s a win win situation. Trading him too soon will net us nothing IMO.

              • AndrewYF

                Yankee fans thinking the Yankees can get anything of value for Molina are just as delusional as Sox fans thinking they can get anything of value for Penny.

                Think: what did the Yankees trade to get Molina? Jeff Kennard, a mediocre at the time AA relief pitcher. That’s what you can expect in return.

  • Brendo

    Cervelli has a good 2 weeks in the majors and you all want to give him the starting catching job. Take a chill. He needs AAA at bats and he needs to play everyday.

    • Drew

      Funny thing is, I haven’t read one comment saying he should be our starting catcher.

  • Pingback: Game 46: Yankees at Rangers « 161st Street

  • AndrewYF

    I liked this typo from the Star-Ledger article:

    http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2009/05/injured_catcher_jorge_posada_c.html

    “Girardi expects Posado to catch five more innings on Wednesday.”

    Good to know Sado is coming back. Should offset the inevitable slump by A-Rod or Teixeira.