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.