Sep
30

Could Cervelli’s playing time be a good thing?

By

(AP Photo/Ralph Lauer)

For much of the summer, we lamented every time Frankie Cervelli‘s name was written into the lineup. He started the season off in glorious fashion, hitting .354/.426/.451 in his first hundred or so plate appearances through mid-May. As Jorge Posada‘s backup it was fantastic, but then things started to go south once Cervelli received more and more playing time. From May 23rd through August 25th, a period during which Posada missed time due to a broken foot, a bruised ring finger, a sore knee, and a sore shoulder, Cervelli hit just .174/.248/.208 in 164 plate appearances.

Production at the bottom of the order was compromised, and oftentimes it was painful to watch. No one really expected Frankie to hit much this year, so it wasn’t his impotent bat that bothered people (okay, yes it was), it was all the playing time he received. When Posada wasn’t injured he often started at designated hitter, giving Cervelli even more at-bats. In fact, his 714.2 innings caught this year are the most on the team, about six games more than Posada’s total of 660.1. Of course that gap closed significantly down the stretch in September, but it still may have some impact down the road.

At 39-years-old, Posada remains a catching marvel. He’s hitting .253/.361/.464 in between all those nagging injuries this year, a .361 wOBA that ranks ahead of Victor Martinez and is bested only by Joe Mauer’s .376 mark among AL catchers. Sure, his defense is as bad as ever, but Cervelli hasn’t exactly made anyone forget Jose Molina. Posada is clearly the best catcher on the team and should start behind the plate every day in the postseason, and the lessened workload during the season just might help him do it.

Aside from 2008, when Jorge missed most of the season with a major shoulder injury, the 660.1 innings in 2010 are the fewest he’s caught in a single season since 1999. He was well over 1,000 innings caught annually from 2000-2007, and it wasn’t until injuries set in later in his career that Posada’s workload started to decrease. Of course all that extra rest this summer hasn’t helped lately; he’s hitting just .179/.304/.282 since September 10th, but we’re not going to get worked up over 46 plate appearances, especially during a period when the entire team struggled offensively.

This is completely subjective obviously, as there’s no concrete way to determine whether or not the decreased workload during the hot summer months will help keep Posada fresh for the playoffs. It sounds logical, but I’m constantly amazed at how often logic loses out. A productive Jorge Posada is the best thing for the Yankees, and if all of those plate appearances wasted on Cervelli this season help Posada remain productive when the games really man something, then I take back all of the bad things I ever said about Frankie. Well, not all of it, but some of it.

Aside: Remember when there was that big debate last season/postseason about Cervelli being a better game caller and better with the pitchers and what not? Well this year Yankee pitchers have a 4.03 ERA and a .252/.325/.397 batting line against with Frankie behind the dish and a 4.06 ERA with a .246/.317/.399 line against with Posada. The whole thing seems silly now, doesn’t it?

Categories : Players

184 Comments»

  1. Steve H says:

    The whole thing seems silly now, doesn’t it?

    It did last year too.

  2. Joe S formerly of Brooklyn says:

    Excellent post — not b/c you favored Posada, but b/c of the data provided at the very end. Thank you!

  3. Jobu says:

    I am sometimes frustrated watching Cervelli at the plate, but what has really bothered me is his defense. OK, he is a backup catcher. He is not going to strike Jim Rice style fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers. I get it, but what good is a backup catcher who plays poor defense?

    • Yank the Frank says:

      In watching Cervelli last year I thought he was a young agile Jose Molina with a rocket arm. Did I dream that?

      • Jobu says:

        It is hard to analyze defense in a single season and especially hard to analyze defensive contribution at the catcher position. However, in 2009 Cervelli caught 241.1 innings with 1 error, 13 SB vs 10 CS, and no PB. In 2010, he caught 714.2 innings with 11 errors, 54 SB vs 9 CS, and 2 PB.

        So, as much as he may have looked like Jose Molina in 2009 he looked like anti-Molina in 2010 . . . with nearly three times the exposure.

  4. As long as Cervelli doesn’t sniff a meaningful inning in the postseason I’m fine with it. Maybe some rival GM will be impressed with his fist pumps enough and shining green eyes to trade someone useful for him. At the very least maybe he’ll be a chip that could help finalize a trade.

  5. larryf says:

    The lefty right splits on Frankie are impressive. Do you think Joe plans to have him catch any of CC/Andy/Phil in the postseason or will it be all Jorge with Lancelot Thames DH’ing?

    • vin says:

      I don’t think so. Cervelli has primarily caught Burnett and the other dregs. I’d be surprised if Frankie gets more than 2 AB’s in the first round. And those would probably come in extra innings or in some other odd circumstance.

      I still find it interesting that Frankie continues to catch AJ despite Burnett’s awfulness. I understand Posada can’t catch everyday, but you would figure that Girardi wouldn’t continue to be a slave to this pitcher-catcher relationship.

  6. Tank Foster says:

    This is completely subjective obviously, as there’s no concrete way to determine whether or not the decreased workload during the hot summer months will help keep Posada fresh for the playoffs. It sounds logical, but I’m constantly amazed at how often logic loses out.

    It’s not completely subjective. Decreased workload during the season is something concrete, and it has brought us to this point with Jorge pretty healthy and able to play regularly.

    Aside: Remember when there was that big debate last season/postseason about Cervelli being a better game caller and better with the pitchers and what not? Well this year Yankee pitchers have a 4.03 ERA and a .252/.325/.397 batting line against with Frankie behind the dish and a 4.06 ERA with a .246/.317/.399 line against with Posada. The whole thing seems silly now, doesn’t it?

    Well, when those cERA and slash stats were used last year to advance the pro-Cervelli position, the stats were dismissed as being meaningless, or too hard to interpret. So it seems silly to turn around and use them to try to disprove the thesis now.

    That said….I don’t believe Cervelli helps the pitchers. He might, but if he does, I can’t see it. We have 12+ years of watching Jorge to know he’s an overall below-average catcher defensively. While Cervelli certainly doesn’t look like a defensive wizard, I’d still say that 1/2 season is a bit quick to write him off as “no better” than Jorge. But I agree he certainly hasn’t impressed with the glove this season.

  7. Chris says:

    When Posada wasn’t injured he often started at designated hitter, giving Cervelli even more at-bats.

    While technically true, I think this is misleading. He was on the DL for the second half of May. When he came back in June, he was a DH for the first 10 games, and then was DH for 11 of his next 32 starts through the end of July. Once the Yankees acquired Berkman, Jorge’s time at DH declined as he’s only started at DH in 4 of his 37 games in August/Sept.

  8. pat says:

    Can’t wait until Cervelli is replaced by Monteroooooo.

    • Can you name the truck with four wheel drive?
      smells like a steak and seats thirty-five?
      Monteroooooo! Montero!

      Well, it goes real slow with the hammer down,
      It’s the country-fried truck endorsed by a clown!
      Monteroooooo! (YAH!) Montero!

      12 yards long, 2 lanes wide,
      65 tons of American Pride!
      Monteroooooo! Montero!

      Top of the line in utility sports,
      Unexplained fires are a matter for the courts!
      Monteroooooo! Montero! (Yah!)

      He blinds everybody with his super high beams,
      He’s a squirrel crushing, deer smacking, driving machine!
      Montero-oh woah, Montero! (Yah!)

      Drive Montero!

      Woah Montero!

      Woah!

      (The Federal Highway comission has ruled the
      Montero unsafe for highway or city driving.)

    • Mr. Meh says:

      Girardi said Montero’s defensive was underated on during the pre game yesterday…

  9. vin says:

    CC is having an CY Young caliber season despite Posada being his primary catcher. For the most part, Hughes has had a good season with Posada being his primary catcher.

    Those two guys have 38 wins between them. Maybe having a bat like Jorge’s in the lineup is more helpful to a pitcher than the guy receiving him. Give me the masher everyday of the week behind the plate.

  10. Hughesus Christo says:

    All I know is that Cervelli has done a great job with AJ this season

  11. dc1874 says:

    frankie catches burnetts big sweeping curveball..slider..etc..in the dirt..posada no can catch it!!!

  12. jayorz128 says:

    I think Cervelli is a work in progress and give him some time in the off season with Kevin Long and Tony Pena and he will improve. Will he ever be as good a hitter as Posada maybe not but he will only get better remember he’s only 24 years old and Posada was not the starting catcher until he was 29. I’m not saying he will be as good as Posada but he could possibly be in time and if he doesn’t pan out well there is always Jesus Montero waiting in the wings.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Francisco Cervellli is in no way a prospect or a project to be the Yankees full time catcher. So many things have to go wrong for that to happen. If Jesus fails there’s Romine, JR Murphy, Gary Sanchez, Kyle Higashoiska, and others like IFA signings who’s names escape me who could be it. Cervelli will always be a backup.

    • Pete says:

      you can’t know that “he will only get better”. If I started playing in the majors right now, I would suck (I’m 19). If I played in the majors for 10 years, I probably wouldn’t get any better.

      • jayorz128 says:

        Maybe Cervelli won’t get better you’re right I don’t know. I hope he does because I don’t think Montero is ready to play in the big league yet just just plainly because his defensive skills are not there yet. If you give Montero another year or two he could be ready Montero is only 20 so he would only be 22-23 if he got called up in 2 years. I’ve seen this kid in person and once he is finally playing in the Bronx (unless they trade him) he’s he’s gonna take the league by storm. The kids got power like I’ve never seen in a minor league player and I’ve seen Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard come up through the minors back when the Phillies had their Triple A team in Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

        • jayorz128 says:

          But then again I’m not Brian Cashman and I don’t make those decisions. I just don’t see Montero in the Bronx next year.

  13. Brian says:

    I am amused by the loyalty towards Posada. I don’t think there has been a more overrated player in the history of baseball than Jorge Posada. The Yanks won 4 titles from 1996 to 2000 with Posada catching very few games in any of those postseasons. With Posada as the everyday catcher in the postseason the Yanks won exactly 0 championships. Throw in Molina during Burnett’s starts last year and all you saber geeks starting talking about how the Yanks wouldn’t be able to score enough runs to win because Molina was terrible at the dish.

    I have no idea how many runs Molina saved last postseason but I do know Posada was terrible at the dish last postseason and has been for his entire career. Who catches 2 or 3 games out of a possibly 19 really won’t have much of an impact at all . Cervelli is a back up catcher which everyone knows so the fact that his batting avg and OBP is significantly higher than Molina’s should mean he will actually get on base a couple of times this postseason when Molina didn’t. Posada is literally the worst every day player on the team and that is saying something w/Curtis Granderson on the roster as well.

    The fact that Cervelli has been as bad as Posada defensively is the only cause for concern here, but over the course of the last month he has been much better behind the plate, in keeping balls in front of him. The fact he catches Burnett kills his throwing % and also raises his ERA behind the plate since Burnett is terrible and would be much worse as he has proven with Posada catching.

    Posada is a power threat who holds a .239 career postseason batting avg with 11 HR’s in 372 AB which doesn’t scream clutch or irreplaceable to me. If the Yanks can win with Molina behind the dish than they certainly can win with Cervelli since they have 94 wins this year doing it this way.

      • Hughesus Christo says:

        See? This is why I feel the need to crap on Ivan Nova.

      • Chris says:

        I’ll take a shot at some of this.

        With Posada as the everyday catcher in the postseason the Yanks won exactly 0 championships.

        Except they won in 2009. Or was I imagining that?

        Throw in Molina during Burnett’s starts last year and all you saber geeks starting talking about how the Yanks wouldn’t be able to score enough runs to win because Molina was terrible at the dish.

        Yankees in 2009 post season with Molina catching: 3-2
        Yankees in 2009 post season with Posada catching: 9-2

        Clearly, Molina was the answer.

        I have no idea how many runs Molina saved last postseason but I do know Posada was terrible at the dish last postseason and has been for his entire career.

        Average RA with Molina starting: 4.4 R/G
        Average RA with Posada starting: 2.6 R/G

        Average RS with Molina starting: 4.6 R/G
        Average RS with Posada starting: 5.2 R/G

        That’s as far as I could get without laughing.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Yeah all of this wrong. Posada is HoF worthy. No catcher outside of like Mauer are great hitters and great defenders.

    • Steve H says:

      The Yanks won 4 titles from 1996 to 2000 with Posada catching very few games in any of those postseasons. With Posada as the everyday catcher in the postseason the Yanks won exactly 0 championships.

      Please back this up with facts.

      • Brian says:

        Games played by Posada in Postseason from 1996 to 2000

        1996 0
        1998 9
        1999 6
        2000 16

        So they won 1 title with playing the majority of the games behind the plate. My bad. Is this sufficient for you? Yanks really don’t need a so called great offensive catcher since Joe Girardi and Jim Leyritz managed just fine for 3 titles.

        • Hughesus Christo says:

          9/12 = ?

        • JobaWockeeZ says:

          So you’d rather have someone like Varitek who’s supposedly a great defender and a great game caller than Jorge or a Brian McCann or Victor Martinez?

          Well every team in the MLB disagrees.

          • Brian says:

            The article and the majority of the responses that followed claim Posada has to play every game this postseason for the Yanks to be successful and this simply isn’t true.

            The Yanks have won WS with light hitting catchers before and will do so again. Cervelli may catch 2 or 3 games the entire postseason just like Molina did last year. Posada will probably enter as a pinch hitter late so the argument to not play Cervelli is basically pointless so that is what I am trying to say.

            Posada is also a .239 postseason hitter and struck out in 28% of plate appearances last year and we are hoping to get him in the line up for every game?

            • JobaWockeeZ says:

              .239/.351/.384 career postseason line while not Jorge like isn’t bad at all. It’s a step up from what Cervelli can do. And Cervelli hasn’t exactly been a great defender. His CS percent rate is one percent better than Jorge’s. He’s meh.

            • Mike Axisa says:

              Are you serious? They’ve won with light hitting catcher in the past and will probably do so again in the future, but you know what? It’s a whole lot easier to win with a catcher than can actually hit.

              You’re not going to appreciate Posada until he retires and you’re stuck watching dreck like Cervelli or Molinez 162 times a year.

              • JobaWockeeZ says:

                Well when he retires hopefully Montero is there…

                • Chris says:

                  I wonder if the fact that Posada is likely to be replaced by an equal (or better) hitter will hurt his HOF chances. If he retires and the Yankees scuffle for a few years trying to find a catcher than can hit, the writers may take more notice of how good Posada really was.

              • Tom says:

                It would be easier to win with Joe Mauer as well, but you can see how many titles the twins have won thus far. There aren’t that many great offensive catchers in the history of baseball. I honestly do not think the yankees will miss jorge all that much. I mean worst case scenario we could always for John Buck, which is essentially better than Jorge Posada now. I wouldn’t call John Buck a hot commodity. Teams can and will win without an offensive catcher so therefore jorge is not that important.

            • The article and the majority of the responses that followed claim Posada has to play every game this postseason for the Yanks to be successful and this simply isn’t true.

              (rereads article)
              (rereads responses)

              No, it doesn’t. Nowhere in the article does Mike claim that Posada (or good hitting catchers) has to play every game for the Yankees to be successful. Nowhere in the responses do the commenters say Posada has to play every game for the Yankees to be successful.

              What Mike says in the article (and what commenters say in the comments) is that Posada, all things considered, is better than Cervelli, and thus, it would be wise to start him as much as possible (and start Cervelli as little as possible, since he’s inferior). Because doing so gives you the best chance to win (because it’s the best possible lineup).

              You’re arguing against a strawman. Nobody’s saying it’s impossible to win with a bad hitting catcher, it’s just harder to win with a bad hitting catcher. We shouldn’t make it harder to win, we should try and make it as easy as possible to win.

              • Brian says:

                Why write the article when we all know Posada is better than Cervelli. Cerv is a back up catcher who has played a lot because Posada has been injured quite a bit this year and is old. Playing Cerv in the postseason for 1 game will have as little impact as it did last year and any other year, so the point of article is still alluding me.

                The only guy Cerv will catch is Burnett and Burnett will most likely not get a start in the ALDS. So why write the article? It seems silly to explain Posada’s value unless people think Cerv is better which no one has ever claimed.

                Which is why I don’t think starting Cerv is a big deal at all since this action is routine.

              • Tom says:

                Ok strawman. So your argument would basically be to pitch CC every Fucking day, since he is the only starter who doesnt have a wet noodle for an arm therefore giving us the best chance to win.

                I will take whatever girardi and pena decide and be ok with it, because I do not think there is much a difference outside of experience with posada and cervelli.

          • Tom says:

            Posada will not be missed after next season, guaranteed. I shake my head watching him more times on plays he is involved in more than anybody else. the other night, 3-0 count, he check swings and ground out, gotta say haven’t seen that one before. Earlier in the year the strikeout against the royals and he promptly threw the ball into left field allowing a runner to score. Last year game 1 against the twins 2 pitches from CC, right down the middle that hit him square in the glove and some how wind up over at the yankees dugout and allows a run to score. All he has over cervelli is power. Power is a tool the yanks do not need at the moment from that position. I’m not saying you dont play him or that cervelli is great and is the answer, im just saying Jorge Posada is not a center piece of this team, if anything he is an enigma.

        • Let me help you with some math.

          The Yankees played 13 postseason games in 1998. Posada caught 9 of them. The Yankees played 12 postseason games in 1999. Posada caught 6 of them. The Yankees played 16 postseason games in 2000. Posada caught – wow! – 16 of them. That means he caught 31 of the Yanks’ 41 postseason games, and they won three titles.

          In 1996, he wasn’t even in the Majors, and in 2009, he again played all of their games and he won a title.

          In closing, WTF are you talking about?

          • Brian says:

            Ok so your still proving my point, the Yanks won WS titles without playing Posada every game….yet now we have to be concerned by not playing him every game in this or last postseason?

            You don’t need to start Posada every game to win this has literally been proven 5 times now.

            • Here’s what you said, verbatim:

              The Yanks won 4 titles from 1996 to 2000 with Posada catching very few games in any of those postseasons. With Posada as the everyday catcher in the postseason the Yanks won exactly 0 championships.

              How does explaining how he played in over 75 percent of the games as the Yanks won 4 World Series prove your point? If anything, it doesn’t prove your point at all.

              I do agree that having Cervelli catch a game or two in the postseason won’t kill the Yankees. It makes their lineup significantly weaker, but it’s not the end of the world because their bench becomes stronger. However, saying the Yanks won 0 championships “with Posada as the everyday catcher” is 100 percent factually incorrect.

              And please stop citing 1996 in your argument. Posada was still in the Minors in 1996 and played only 8 games mostly after September 24 in the Bronx. That’s a non-issue all together.

              • Brian says:

                Posada missing 4 or 5 games in the postseason as opposed to missing 3 games last year and maybe 1 this year proves my point. The Yanks didn’t need his bat for every game from 1997 to 2000 yet now they do? Isn’t their lineup much better now than it was then? How could the YAnks win with Mariano Duncan, Knoblauch, Ledee, Chad Curtis and not win w/AROD, CANO, TEX, Granderson(the saber legend) Swish, and Jeter who are all much better hitters than Jorge???

                Why is it so important for Posada to play everyday in the postseason now but not during their most successful run?

              • Brian says:

                1996 Posada was in the dugout for the postseason and he continually gets credit for winning 5 championships. So it’s not a non issues at all.

        • vin says:

          Does Jorge get any credit or blame for 2001, 2003, and 2004? He played in every one of those playoff games. Was it his fault they didn’t win the WS in those years?

          “so called great offensive catcher”

          So called great offensive catcher?! We had a discussion about this a couple weeks ago. After scouring B-R, it became pretty clear that Posada could be ranked anywhere from the 4th-9th among the greatest hitting catchers of all time. With guys like Piazza, Bench and Berra definitely ahead of him. He was in the middle of the Hartnett, Dickey, Cochrane group. Hall of Famers, all.

          • Does Jorge get any credit or blame for 2001, 2003, and 2004? He played in every one of those playoff games. Was it his fault they didn’t win the WS in those years?

            Yup. It’s Jorge’s fault. If we would have just played Chris Widger more in those postseason series, our pitchers would have thrown CGSHOs every night and we would have one 10 titles in a row.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            Yogi: .285/.348/.482
            Posada: .276/.378/.479

          • Brian says:

            Ivan Rodriguez, Victor Martinez,and Joe Mauer are 3 catchers who have had or are having better careers than Posada. How many catchers do you really think will get into the hall from the steroids era?

            • Mike Axisa says:

              In no way, shape, or form is Victor Martinez having a better career than Posada. You’re absolutely out of your mind if you believe that.

              • Mike Axisa says:

                Just to back it up, here’s Martinez’s career: .299/.369/.468 with 130 homers in ~4,200 plate appearances.

                Here’s Posada through the same age (31): .270/.375/.474 with 135 homers in ~3,400 plate appearances. Since then, Posada has hit .282/.380/.485 with 126 homers in ~3,300 plate appearances.

                Also, V-Mart has split the last several years between catcher and first base.

                Unless you’re a batting average fanatic, there’s no case for Martinez having a better career than Posada. None. Zero. Zilch.

                • Brian says:

                  VMART has 5 less HR’s .006 % points difference in OB and Slugging and he is clearly not having a better career than Posada yet is 8 yrs younger and hits for a much better avg? Man I must be off my rocker!!!

                  VMART is obviously on pace to equal or surpass Posada.

                  • Mike Axisa says:

                    Posada had five more homers in 764 fewer plate appearances.

                    V-Mart is obviously NOT on pace to equal or pass Posada because if you looked at the numbers I provided, Posada actually got better after his age 31 season. Martinez would have to up his game just to keep pace, then up it again to surpass him.

                    • mike as well says:

                      you are all jerkoffs…v-mart is much better than posada…hence he bats in the middle of a good lineup…posada has always 5th-8th…he’s a hack…

                      i wonder whose got a better arm though, since they both suck defensively

    • seimiya says:

      I can’t reply to this, because my feelings are too hurt over becoming called a saber geek.

      (sobs hysterically)

    • bexarama says:

      First Name Only Male Handle Rule.

    • Riddering says:

      “I don’t think there has been a more overrated player in the history of baseball than Jorge Posada.”

      You realize that is madness?

    • Yeah Molina did a great job making AJ good AJ every time out in the 2009 playoffs, certainly no eye bleeders in there.

    • Pete says:

      Posada has a way-too small head and pees on his hands, but other than that, he’s pretty much unilaterally awesome.

    • Tank Foster says:

      Brian, Posada is easily the most UNDER-rated of the Yankee Core Four plus Bernie. Jorge is vastly underrated compared to Jeter. You have it all wrong, and I don’t have time to explain why. Someone else will.

  14. larryf says:

    Wynegar with the team in Toronto telling Joe G all he needs to hear about Jesus. He will be surprisingly good defensively in my opinion.

  15. Power of…. wOBA! LI! wRC! VORP!

    And the power of…. WAR!

    By your powers combined, I am…. SABER GEEK!

  16. larryf says:

    Cervelli also has the bunt in his arsenal and we know how much that weapon is admired here.

  17. stuart says:

    cervellis is only 24. having no power is a huge disadvantage but we will see how he does in the future.

    next year they will have 3 catchers on the opening day roster, jesus, cervelli, and jorge. jorge and jesus will both catch a DH a ton.. Cervelli will be the backup catcher…

    that can work……

    • Chris says:

      I really hope this is what the Yankees do next year.

    • Montero likely won’t be on the team in opening day. They’ll start him in AAA and let him earn a callup. Thats the more “politically correct” way to do it and not offend veteran players.

      • And it’s the cheaper way to do it as well; push back his arb and FA clocks a year.

      • Chris says:

        They’ll start him in AAA and let him earn a callup.

        I never really understood this. He hit .351/.396/.684/1.080 in the second half in AAA. How is that not earning a call up?

        What could he possibly do in 40 or 50 games in AAA at the start of the season that would prove that he’s earned the call up?

        • Very rarely do highly touted prospects make the team out of spring training, though. Heyward and Stanton were huge super-prospects who destroyed AAA and they didn’t come up til later either. Part of it is holding back the FA clock, the other is not jettisoning a veteran to make room for a rookie. I agree it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it just seems to be the way it works.

          • Chris says:

            Jason Heyward had 13 PA in AAA before this year and then started the season in the majors.

            Mike Stanton had (and still has) 0 PA in AAA. He had a .761 OPS in AA in 2009, so clearly hadn’t earned a call up. In 2010, his OPS in AA improved to 1.171 which earned him a call up.

            Highly touted prospects generally don’t start the season in the majors because they’ve forced themselves onto a crappy team earlier in the season or because the team wants to hold back their arbitration/FA clock. Personally, I don’t think that should be a concern for the Yankees. If Montero hits in his first 3 years, then the Yankees will give him a longer term contract (like Cano). If he doesn’t, then the Yankees will trade him (like Melky), and even if they don’t then he won’t make as much because he’s not hitting.

            • Heyward and Stanton also didn’t have to play the most demanding defensive position in the game, nor did they have an HoF everyday player already entrenched in their position as the starter (or an established big league veteran backup behind that HoF starter, to boot).

            • Highly touted prospects generally don’t start the season in the majors because… the team wants to hold back their arbitration/FA clock. Personally, I don’t think that should be a concern for the Yankees.

              It should be. Holding back his arb and FA clock for a year buys us an extra year of evaluation on him before we have to decide to keep him and make him the starter or move him to another team before he gets expensive or loses more years of team control and thus becomes a slightly less desirable commodity.

              And pushing back his clock also gives us an extra year of cheap arb labor that can be used to lower the pricepoint of his Canoesque extension to buy out his arb/FA years, if that’s the route we take.

              Every team benefits from keeping talented players in the minors for two more months and pushing back their clocks, even rich ones that can easily afford to pay their players. The only time you shouldn’t do it is if that player is clearly the best at his position in your org top-to-bottom and not making him the Opening Day starter would demonstrably weaken your big league club during those first two months.

              Montero would only be a part time player in April/May anyway, so keep him in Trenton.

              • Chris says:

                Montero would only be a part time player in April/May anyway, so keep him in Trenton.

                Wow. Taking it a step too far, I think….

                Every team benefits from keeping talented players in the minors for two more months and pushing back their clocks, even rich ones that can easily afford to pay their players. The only time you shouldn’t do it is if that player is clearly the best at his position in your org top-to-bottom and not making him the Opening Day starter would demonstrably weaken your big league club during those first two months.

                I generally agree with this, but I think that the hit that they’d take in April/May would be significant. There are basically 2 options if they keep Montero in the minors:

                1. Sign someone cheap (and thus not too good) to fill his roster spot and thus punt on that spot for the first two months of the season

                2. Sign someone good (and pay them) to fill his spot

                Most small market teams take option 1, since they’re not really concerned about winning now. More likely, the Yankees would take option 2, which would eliminate most of the future savings that they’d get anyway.

                Maybe the biggest difference in our views is that I see Montero as a full time player next season – 50% at DH and 50% at C, with Jorge taking the rest of the playing time (and Cervelli occasionally playing).

                And if you want a concrete example of this, ask the Giants if they’d rather have the extra couple wins that Posey could have given them in the first two months of the season.

                • Yeah, sorry, said Trenton, meant Scranton.

                  I generally agree with this, but I think that the hit that they’d take in April/May would be significant. There are basically 2 options if they keep Montero in the minors:

                  1. Sign someone cheap (and thus not too good) to fill his roster spot and thus punt on that spot for the first two months of the season

                  2. Sign someone good (and pay them) to fill his spot

                  Option #3:

                  Sign someone who can take most of the non-Posada DH PAs in April/May but also play another useful position somewhere else on the diamond (like, say, Ty Wigginton) and then when Montero comes up, move that player out of the DH timeshare (which becomes more of a Posada/Montero timeshare) and have that player become a supersub bench option giving ARod, Cano, Tex, Swisher etc. time off when needed.

          • Zack says:

            Heyward did, Stanton and Posey didn’t. (Your point still stands though)

        • What could he possibly do in 40 or 50 games in AAA at the start of the season that would prove that he’s earned the call up?

          He could prove that it his second-half surge wasn’t a fluke based on the thinning of the AAA talent pool as the good players get promoted to the bigs?

          (Or, more importantly, he could prove that he’s not accruing service time towards his arbitration and free agency clocks?)

          • Chris says:

            How much are they really going to save by delaying his FA/Arbitration clock? Probably no more than a few million dollars in 3-7 years.

            And if the do that, then they would have to spend money on a free agent DH or C, which would probably cost them most of the savings.

            • When it comes time to give him a 6 year Cano extension, you’d much rather be buying out 3 arb years and 3 FA years than 2 arb years and 4 FA years. That’s not a few million, it’s more like 10-20M.

              • Chris says:

                But the savings won’t come until 2014-2017. When you discount that amount to present day dollars, it becomes the cost of a mediocre free agent.

                Also, the Yankees haven’t shown a tendency to act based on FA/Arb clocks. Maybe they should, but that’s not the way they’ve acted in the past and I there really isn’t any indication that they’ll act that way in the future.

        • Zack says:

          I wouldn’t say 50 games, but when you have a 21 year old you want to call him up when everything is clicking. You don’t want him walking out of ST, hit .200/.250/.350 for a month and have him start questioning himself.

          Let him go through ST, make sure his mechanics are where they’re suppose to be, then call him up.

          And don’t forget, he did show up to ST this year weighing more than expected, can’t do that this year.

          • Chris says:

            You don’t want him walking out of ST, hit .200/.250/.350 for a month and have him start questioning himself.

            Montero in April this year: .247/.313/.384/.696
            Montero in May this year: .214/.302/.333/.635

            I don’t know whether he questioned himself or not, but whatever he was doing didn’t seem to have a negative effect on the rest of the season.

        • Pete says:

          He could not be on the MLB roster, which would prove something rather valuable to the Yankees in future arbitration cases.

          • That.

            Service time and arb clocks matter to every team, not just poor ones. Montero having less service time every year when we re-up him, whether it’s for one year minimums, one year arb deals, or a contract extension gives us the ability to hold his salary down more and thus spend more money elsewhere; it gives us the ability to negotiate an extra year onto an extension since we would have a future year of team control to bargain with.

    • Zack says:

      And hopefully he’s a true backup catcher, like 30 games max.

  18. larryf says:

    He really needs to improve his english to handle the likes of a tough Kim Jones interview before the pie arrives.

  19. MikeD says:

    Cervelli is fine as a back-up catcher, meaning he’d serve the Yankees well starting 30/35 games behind the plate, and maybe another 20 as a replacement at various points in the game. He would have been great when Jorge was catching 130-140 games a year.

    The problem is Cervelli is not the back-up catcher. He’s the co-catcher, and in reality he’s been the primary catcher, as he’s caught more innings this year than Posada (714 to 660, fine baseball numbers for those of you into mythic HR hitters).

    Cervelli has been our nummber-one catcher, and that is the issue. The Yankees can’t go into 2011 knowing Posada is not going to catch more than 81 games, if that, and being another year older, increasing the odds his offense could collapse at any time. That means even more playing time for Cervelli. Unless they think Montero is ready to absorb 60-70 games behind the plate, with the others at DH, then they have to acquire a stronger catcher for 2011. Perhaps Posada and Montero could rotate between catcher and DH, with 70 games at each position, and Cervelli serving as the required third catcher in this scenario. If not, then we need another catcher.

    (BTW I keep hearing people mention Molina. He’s not the answer. It’s not fair to break Cervelli’s season into parts. He should be rated on his entire season, which is basicall a .265 hitter with a .360 OBP, with little power. This is more than fine for a back-up. Molina is incapable of producing those numbers over 80 games.)

    • Stratman9652 says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head. People are so determined to pick apart Cervelli’s season, highlight the bad and disregard the good as a fluke, just because we know Montero is getting close to arriving. The fact is he’s what we had for better or worse and hating him won’t get Montero here faster.

      As for what you said about a three man cathing rotation I again agree completely. Get rid of the Johnson/Berkman type DH/1B combo and have Montero and Posada split time between C and DH with Cervelli backing up the catcher (obviously we’ll never see him as DH).

      I just cant see them going after another catcher when there’s so much cheap talent down on the farm. We’ve made it this far haven’t we?

      • MikeD says:

        I do think Cervelli has been picked on too much. It’s not his fault that he’s caught more innings than any catcher. That’s not the role he’s supposed to be handling. How many back-up catchers can carry a .360 OBP? Fine, Molina is the more experienced catcher, but I don’t want to see him getting nearly 300 PAs with a .280 OBP. Painful.

        I’m hoping Montero makes it up to the big club early in 2011, if not out of the gate. I think the plan all along was to have Posada mentor Montero some in the last year of his contract. Let’s see if it happens.

  20. jay destro says:

    i do not envy the people who have to moderate this drek

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