Rangers checked in on Cervelli; Yankees not interested in Frandsen

Will Cervelli be packing his bags before Opening Day (Presswire)

Will Cervelli be packing his bags before Opening Day? (Presswire)

As Spring Training winds down, expect there to be a small run of transactions as teams finalize their rosters. Out of options players will be dealt, veterans on minor league contracts will be released so they find a big league job elsewhere, all sorts of stuff. Two years ago the Yankees pounced on this late-spring market to get Chris Stewart from the Giants, for example.

The Rangers have suffered a ton of injuries in recent weeks, losing guys like Jurickson Profar and Derek Holland long-term. Others like Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, and Elvis Andrus are banged up and expected to miss Opening Day. Starting catcher Geovany Soto will miss 10-12 weeks after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus early this week, meaning Robinson Chirinos and J.P. Arencibia will be their catching tandem at the start of the season.

According to Buster Olney, the Rangers called around to check in with clubs with extra catchers, including the Yankees and Frankie Cervelli. They are far from the first team to show interest in him this spring. With the bullpen more or less sorted out — we don’t know the exact names yet, but there are plenty of candidates to choose from — the Yankees figure to seek an infielder in any trade involving Cervelli, especially with Brendan Ryan‘s back acting up. Therein lies the problem:

Rangers Infield Depth Chart

Those are the infielders on Texas’ 40-man roster. The non-roster guys are pretty bad, as non-roster guys tend to be. Andrus, Profar, Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder, and Mitch Moreland are not worth talking about for obvious reasons. It would be nice to have a true backup first baseman, but Moreland doesn’t make much sense for the Yankees, especially not with a $2.65M salary. He doesn’t fit the roster well.

That leaves journeymen Andy Parrino and Adam Rosales, as well as actual prospect (!) Luis Sardinas. Both Parrino and Rosales are cut from the no hit, good glove cloth, but with Andrus and Profar hurt, the Rangers need both of them. Sardinas, 20, hit .288/.342/.348 between High-A (96 games in 2013) and Double-A (29 games) last year and is slated to return to Double-A this year. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked Sardinas as the team’s seventh best prospect a few weeks ago and said he has the contact and defensive chops to play short everyday, as long as he improves his plate discipline and gets stronger.

Given the infield situation, it makes sense for the Yankees to look at acquiring a young infielder. I can’t imagine the Rangers (or any team) would give up a prospect of Sardinas’ caliber for an out of options catcher — Stewart-for-George Kontos is a nice estimation of Cervelli’s trade value, no? — though I suppose they may be desperate in the wake of Soto’s injury. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Sardinas would not improve the 2014 Yankees though, and probably not the 2015 team either. As Olney says, there isn’t much of a fit here even though Texas needs a backstop. They don’t have the infield depth to give up because of their own injuries. It seems like Cervelli’s value to the team is greater than anything the they could get in a trade.



In other news, Joel Sherman says the Yankees are not interested in infielder Kevin Frandsen, who recently elected free agency after being outrighted by the Phillies. He forfeited $900k in salary by doing that. Might end up regretting that one. I wrote about the 31-year-old Frandsen as a trade target last summer, mostly because he can fake the three non-shortstop infield positions and hit southpaws (career 108 wRC+). Is he better than Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte? Eh, maybe. Is it worth a 40-man roster spot to find out? I don’t think so.

The Ryan injury made the need for another infielder a little greater, but the Yankees brought in Solarte and specifically Anna for this very situation. Cervelli to Texas for an actual infield prospect would be great but it just seems so very unlikely. At the same time, another veteran journeyman like Frandsen might not be worth the trouble. The Yankees stocked up on similar players this winter and while there’s never any harm in adding another body, there’s no desperate need for a player of that caliber. Despite their recent history of late spring moves, I would be surprised if the Bombers make a trade or some kind of notable infield addition in the next six days.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. CountryClub says:

    George King reported today that the Yanks told the rangers that Cervelli wasn’t available. That can’t be true…I mean, come on. At least listen to what they want to offer. But the source is King, so who knows how accurate it is.

  2. Eddardo Nuney says:

    Frankie means a lot to this ballclub and shouldn’t be dealt unless we can get a top flight prospect in return. Remember last year’s catcher situation once Frankie got injured? We’re one injury to McCann away from a Stewart/Romine platoon if Frankie is dealt. Best to keep him for insurance.

    • CountryClub says:

      Cervelli has no long term future with the team. If they can trade him or package him for a legit prospect(s), I think they should. That doesn’t mean they should just give him away, but they certainly can’t act like he’s untouchable.

  3. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    What, Cervelli for Profar would be giving up too much?!?!?!

    • I'm One says:

      Maybe if they throw in Andrus the Yankees should think about it. Then again, I might hold out till the add Andrus and Darvish. I mean, the Yankees would be giving up Cervelli, so they should get equal value in return, right?

  4. mitch says:

    I wouldn’t trade Cervelli unless I was blown away with an offer. If he can stay healthy and productive for a few months as a backup, he’ll have more value by mid season. Maybe by then Romine, or especially Murphy is more prepared to take over the backup role.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      I probably wouldn’t trade anyone, outside of attempting to de-clutter the 40-man (which may not be worth doing for some of potential 25-man guys being considered anyway), with a decent shot of making the roster unless it was an incredibly strong offer.

      I have no issue whatsoever with dealing Frankie now. I just don’t see why this team needs to trade him, or Ichiro or whatnot, unless the return is more helpful to the team.

      I think it’s possible he looks like a more legit option to someone else in July…….or that he looks more like Frankie Cervelli.

      • The Great Gonzo says:

        Right, there it lies the slippery slope. In June he could have teams clamoring for him where you ‘could’ go 1:1 for a Gregorious type player, OR Cervelli could regress to the 2011 Cervelli and we could be carrying another pumpkin.

        Hence, I tend to sit more on the ‘strike while the iron is hot’ side of the aisle, with either he OR Serial Killer John Ryan Murphy if you can get proper value in return and help the club. NO, you will not get a Trout for either guy, but too early is better than too late. That said, if its Cervelli for Uggla or something, I will lose my shit.

        Or not, fuck it. Keep em all. I could go either way on this one.

      • mitch says:

        I agree. Trading one or more of the 26-40 guys makes more sense than Cervelli. I’d gladly trade some combination of Flores, Almonte, Romine, Claiborne for a good infield prospect. Trading Cervelli for an infield prospect will make the big league team worse. I might get banned for saying this but even trading Ichiro might make them a little worse.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

          I think the “trade Ichiro” stuff is way overstated. There’s little reason to trade him unless the return is good, and it’s apparently not.

          I don’t think losing Cervelli makes them markedly worse. Romine or Murphy would step in just as easily. The question, to me, is why pull the trigger on anything unless you’re getting something of benefit back.

        • I'm One says:

          I don’t entirely disagree with you on the “making the team worse” comment. You do lose depth (if nothing else) and it all depends what is added indetermining if you’ve gained or lost.

          The issue with a trade, regardless of who you’re giving up, is there needs to be a taker that is willing to give up what you want. We may willingly give up any number of players, but unless a team that has something you want is interested, it really doesn’t matter, even if they’re willing to trade Tanaka, Nova &/or Pineda.

        • Nick says:

          No one is giving up a prospect for the list of guys you mentioned.

          As far as ‘making the team worse’… The difference between a backup catcher who hits .270 (reasonable expectation for Cervelli) and a backup catcher who hits .230 (Romine? Honestly, he could do better than this) is about 5 hits over the course of the season and Romine is better defensively. I don’t think the team would take a huge step back if Cervi was traded.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

            Someone stop this man. He’s making too much sense.

          • mitch says:

            I think we have different definitions of prospect.

          • Poconos Adam says:

            In terms of being a backup, you’re right about little difference between Cervelli and Romine/Murph — but the problem is if McCann gets hurt….Romine is not someone I want to see for a large % of games….and Murphy will likely also get exposed if he has to play that much.

            Cervelli can look decent if pressed into full-time duty for a month or so. He’s the only guy I could see holding his own for any length of time.

            • Wolfgang's Fault says:

              At the present time, I agree. Romine, Murphy, & Sanchez have progressively higher upsides as time passes, but for the present, ditto. Cervelli as present backup gives the entire franchise time to figure out what’s in the best long term interests of the club.

    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Sardinas would 100% qualify as being “blown away.”

    • Wolfgang's Fault says:

      Exactly! They do have a bunch of AA / AAA outfielders that could be dealt in addition to Ichiro &/or Gardner such as Adonis Garcia, Almonte, Mustelier (when healthy), Williams, Heathcott, Austin, Flores, Gamel, etc., the two catchers (Romine and Murphy), and assorted relief arms whereby you could envision a deal somewhere should the right ones become available. Any combination of names could be dealt including Betances, Warren, Phelps, Nuno, etc. You could easily see Cervelli being dealt by June/July if one or both of Romine/Murphy were hitting the cover off the ball at Scranton and they got an offer for Cervelli and other pieces they couldn’t refuse. Hey, you could see Cervelli sticking and any or all of the Romine, Murphy, Sanchez being dealt under the right circumstances. Gotta figure Sanchez potentially moves up to Scranton sometime later this summer so there’s going to be movement somewhere w/one or more of our catchers. The present roster is very much still in the process of being renovated with McCann, Ellsbury, & Tanaka the foundation for what they’re building. Big question is does the signing of McCann now make Sanchez expendable, & if so, what does he potentially command back in a deal? By 2015, they’re going to require solid middle infielders and capable corner infielders & outfielders with pop along with positively answering some pitching questions. Should be interesting to see how all this works itself out.

    • Kemajic says:

      Romine is ready to be backup now. He was excellent the last 6 weeks of last season when he figured out how to hit when playing only a couple times a week. With his excellent spring, Cervelli’s value will never be higher than now.

  5. Steve (different one) says:

    As with every single player, there is no “available” or “unavailable” until you tell me what is coming back the other way.

    Not a fit with the Rangers? Keep him. Someone wants to give up a young MI prospect? Let’s talk.

    No point getting worked up over anything unless we know all the facts.

  6. John Duci says:

    I would keep him. Mccan was injured for a good part of last year. Definetly would love to have verve plus bat in that case. These other teams are jokes were not going to get anything good for him so just keep him

  7. TWTR says:

    I would love to trade high on Cervelli. I hope he remains healthy and productive so that what is “high” keeps increasing.

    • Bavarian Yankee says:

      same here. He seems to be doing pretty great lately and not just this year. Imo he’s a bit undervalued by other teams and a good 2014 might increase his stock quite a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cervelli could get a starting job somewhere else if he keeps his performance up. I mean there’s no need to trade him now for a bullpen filler or a bench bat. Cervelli’s probably the best bench bat anyway right now.

  8. Dicka says:

    Um, Mike…

    Cervelli >>> Stewart

    Stewart is pretty horrible. Cervelli, if given the opportunity, could probably start on a few teams.

    • OB/GYN Kenobi says:

      Yeah. I thought that line was a pretty bad statement of relative value on Mike’s part. I know Cervelli’s sample is small (heh) but I have little doubt he’s a better hitter than Stewart. And, potentially, much better.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        It’s a lot of “he could be.” He certainly looks the part, and he’s been somewhat better throughout his career. I’m just not yet buying that he’s on the verge of becoming Super-Cervelli.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

          He doesn’t need to be super cervelli to be better than Stewart.

          • Poconos Adam says:

            Last year all Mike did was beat up on Stewie and now that he’s gone he was acceptable back there? Yuck….come on Mike!

            • Cool Lester Smooth says:

              He was acceptable as a backup. The reason we all beat up on Stewie last year was that we went into the season with the intention of him splitting time 50/50 with Frankie.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          I mean, Frankie’s got just about the same career line as Ryan Hanigan. He’s a good backup.

          Stewart’s career wRC+ is 34 points lower than Frankie’s.

  9. Steve (different one) says:

    Trading Cervelli is a very tricky proposition because there is a small, but non-zero, chance that he is actually a pretty good player. His major league record is pretty decent, BUT almost impossible to analyze because it is made up of a series of small samples over 5 years, and his most recent (too small) samples from last year and ST point to a starting quality catcher. We don’t really know what he really is yet. Here is what we do know:

    Cervelli has proven he can take an occasional walk in the majors
    Cervelli is not slow for a catcher
    He had shown a much improved throwing arm recently
    He grades out well in the pitch framing stuff (SSS)
    He has shown much improved power of late (SSS)
    He was tied to PEDs
    He is at the age where players tend to start hitting peaks

    I don’t really know the answer. I *think*, since his floor is a useful backup that would be an asset to the 2014 Yankees, I would hold on to him and see if he continues this “breakout”. If he does, you could really cash that in. If he doesn’t, you still have a solid reserve player. If he gets hurt, you passed on what is likely a very moderate return. Let’s let it ride….

  10. Chris says:

    Could they sign Drew to a 2 year contract and try and back load it …next year they will need a ss/3b anyway and also some more money coming off the team Ichiro , kuroda,Soriano..

  11. monterowasdinero says:

    Is Cervelli still Tanaka’s catcher? Seems like that would be hard to break up if that is the plan for 2014. McCan cannot catch everyday and Tanaka has the ridiculous upside that we might not want to mess with.

  12. OB/GYN. Kenobi says:

    Crazy when a sub .700 OPS in A and AA makes you a legit prospect as a SS.

    I played SS on my little league teams. Should’ve stuck with it.

    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      It does when you’re super young, make contact, have wheels and are a legit gold glover defensively.

      A 20 year old SS with a .718 OPS in A+ is a legit prospect, even if he didn’t do too hot in AA.

  13. Darren says:

    Damn, comparing Cervelli to Chris Stewart is cold. I don’t care what the stats say, watching Cervelli play is about 1000x more fun than watching that big lunky galoot. Frankie will at least get a few knocks and add some energy to the team. Over a 162 game season that has to have value even if it doesn’t show up in the box score, no?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      An argument could easily be made that Chris Stewart did things throughout the season which only existed in the ether somewhere and didn’t actually show up anywhere measurable.

      Stewart’s been worth 1.9 WAR in his career, Cervelli 2.4. Cervelli was worth .8 last season, Stewart .5 (I love that stat.) Stewart was worth 1.2 for the Giants in 2011.

      Disclaimer: I should never, EVER be allowed around advanced stats.

      Cervelli’s been better throughout his career, but let’s not get too nuts here. If either is starting for your team, you’ve got a problem….and, hey, we had both last year. Woohoo!

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

        Also 201 games for Cervelli vs 254 for Stewart.

        Giving Cervelli those extra games at the same rate would give him 3.03 WAR.

        Even if he’s just what he’s been in his career, he’s a very very solid backup catcher, bordering on lower tier starter. A 2 WAR starting catcher isn’t going to kill you.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

          All good points.

          My question would be would the actual Frankie Cervelli continue performing at what 2013 seemed to lead to.

          I think he’s a fine BUC. I just think this use of Chris Stewart showing up here might make him look better by comparison, but that it’s not a ton to be proud of. He’s exactly what you describe in your third paragraph.

          • Darren says:

            Agreed in limited roles and with variables like Frankie’s stats from last year being all from the first month it may be difficult to truly tell the differenece.

            But in any event, is there really any argument that Cervelli is more fun to watch? Stewart was the catcher version of a dead fish.

          • Cool Lester Smooth says:

            Yeah, but if he’s actually fixed his defense, he’s closer to a 3 WAR player.

  14. JRod says:

    Don’t see Cervelli as expendable at all, and absolutely not for scrub infield depth. If you trade Cervelli and McCann goes down, you are then looking at Romine as the starting C, and Cashman is on the phone to Kelly Shoppach’s agent. Cervelli has absolutely raked this spring, picking up exactly where he left off last May. A backup C who can actually hit is a rare commodity indeed.

    • Nick says:

      1. Can Cervelli really “actually hit”? I’m not really convinced based on 60 MLB ABs and spring training.

      2. Is Romine as bad as he looked last year? See above. He hit well in the second half of his season last year.

      3. If McCann goes down, you’re screwed either way. JR Murphy is probably the best option of the three if McCann got hurt.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        Agreed again.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

        623 major league at bats with a 90+ wrC+. He’s not amazing but he’s a perfectly serviceable bat at catcher. Even if his true talent is that level.

      • JRod says:

        None of them have many MLB PAs, but Cervelli has shown far more than the others, given his opportunities. Again, small sample size, but Murphy has been terrible this spring, doesn’t even have 300 PAs at AAA and above, and has shown absolutely nothing to indicate he is ready to play at the MLB level.

        • The Great Gonzo says:

          In fairness, Cervelli’s “breakout” was less than 100 PAs last season and two super springs. He looked ‘so-so’ before that.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

            Come on people. A lower tier starting catcher is not so-so. A mid 90′s wrc+ at catcher is more than so-so, even ignoring the last 80-90 at bats. Especially at what he costs right now.

  15. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    If Frankie Cervelli and Yangervis Solarte had a kid, he’d be pretty delayed until he was a teenager, but then he’d just become something AWESOME.

  16. Macho Man "Randy Levine" says:

    It’s funny how part of this article is already obsolete since Frandsen has signed with the Nationals.

  17. Oops I Crapped My Pants says:

    With the Brandon Ryan injury being talked about and the on-going problem of roster spots….am I missing something when it comes to Sizemore?
    Can he not fit that role of bench player? decent bat, good glove and already has a roster spot….so what is the problem?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      Not on the 40-man. May need some more time in AAA if he got off to a later start. Would just outplay everyone on the team anyway, which would be a problem since the yearbook picture probably isn’t just of him.

    • Yankee$ says:

      He didn’t get enough time in ST due to injury and remains a big injury risk all season.

  18. Kosmo says:

    If the right deal came along NY wouldn´t hesitate to trade Cervelli.
    Many teams need help at C. Nevertheless I think Cervelli remains a Yank for the time being.

    I´m still concerned about 3B-2B. Chisenhall just lost his 3B gig to Santana and would be a great pickup.

  19. will says:

    I let it ride too .I like cervelli, What if he turns into Brosius?

  20. Steve H says:

    Are you people stoned? Why do you want a bunch of AAA guys? Chisenhall? Do we need another Anna? Frankie C brings enthusiasm and grit – he’s a very capable MAJOR LEAGUE back-up to BM. And while I’m at it, we still need Ichiro too. Another guy everyone seems to be keen on getting rid of. When JE and CB go down you’ll be happy we have him on the bench. BENCH say it along with me – needed for rings. Enuf said.

  21. Lukaszek says:

    Give Cervelli a chance. I see potential in him

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