The Pittsburgh Pirates Five Best Trades Of The Neal Huntington Era
Number Two: Pittsburgh Pirates trade left-handed relief pitcher Justin Wilson to the New York Yankees for catcher Francisco Cervelli (November 12th, 2014)
Even during the 2014 season Neal Huntington knew the Pittsburgh Pirates would need a new catcher for 2015. That is because starting catcher Russell Martin was slated to become a free agent, and was having the best season of his career. Due to this, Huntington knew Martin would make more in free agency than he was worth.
Due to this Huntington acted promptly after the end of the 2014 season. In early November, Huntington sent left-handed relief pitcher Justin Wilson to the New York Yankees for catcher Francisco Cervelli. In typical Pirate fan fashion, many fans loathed this trade when it first happened. However, in less than two full seasons as a Pirate Francisco Cervelli has quickly become a fan favorite.
Justin Wilson did a good job out of the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen between 2012 and 2014. The hard throwing lefty posted a 2.99 ERA, while averaging 8.26 K/9, 3.97 BB/9, and 0.52 HR/9 in 138 1/3 innings pitched during these three seasons. However, an everyday player is always more valuable than a relief pitcher and the Pirates got an everyday player in return for Wilson.
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Prior to joining the Pittsburgh Pirates Francisco Cervelli, partially due to injuries, was never given a fair chance at being an everyday Major League catcher. The Pirates have given him that chance though, and he has run with it. During his two seasons in Pittsburgh, Francisco Cervelli has become one of the National League’s best two-way catchers.
Francisco Cervelli currently owns a .284/.368/.371/.739 slash line as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cervelli also has a .330 wOBA, 111 wRC+, and a strong 10.6 percent walk rate. Cervelli is also a strong defensive catcher as he is one of the game’s premiere pitch framers and his dWAR the past two seasons is currently 12.4. All of this has led to Cervelli posting a 4.5 WAR the past two seasons, which is second among all Major League catchers behind just Buster Posey.
The biggest reason the trade to acquire Francisco Cervelli is so high on this list is because the Pirates traded a relief pitcher for one of the best two-way catchers in all of baseball. That my friends is an absolute steal. Also, it was not the first time Neal Huntington fleeced the New York Yankees in a trade.
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