Pittsburgh Pirates: Should the Team Trade Cervelli?
The Pittsburgh Pirates are getting closer and closer to the offseason. With that, the team will have plenty of roster moves to make, including the catcher.
Francisco Cervelli has been one of the most solid contributors to the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. He has done a great job of getting on-base, has had a lot of clutch hits, and has helped develop this young pitching staff. Of course, the issue with Cervelli has once again been the same as in the past, he has had trouble staying on the field.
However, where there is a negative with Cervelli being off the field comes a positive. Former top catching prospect Elias Diaz has really emerged as a legitimate big league ballplayer. Diaz has appeared in 77 games, slashing .286/.340/.453 with 21 extra base hits. His power has really improved this season with nine home runs, a115 wRC+ and a .167 ISO. Even better, his strikeout rate is only 12.5 percent and he has walked at 7.5 percent clip. On the defensive side of things, he has thrown out 21 of 46 runners for a 47 percent caught stealing rate.
Then, of course, there has been Jacob Stallings, who has quickly impressed fans in his limited playing time. The now 28-year-old has always been the go-to emergency catcher and he has done a solid job in his time. This includes his walk off the other night in the first game with the Kansas City Royals.
Stallings has had a total of 35 plate appearances and has hit .250 and last year, he was even more productive with the Bucs. However, more comes from Stallings career stats. In his three years of major league appearances, which has only been 22 games, he has put together a .311/.348/.361 slash line. In his Triple-A career, he has batted .265/.313/.396. Not spectacular numbers, but really consistent ones.
What it comes down to is that the Pirates do not need an all-star catching tandem like they did this year. Could Stallings serve as a solid back up? So far he seems as much. He works hard, does enough at the plate, and has worked with a lot of the pitching staff in the minor leagues.
Meanwhile, Elias Diaz has proven he should be the everyday catcher and should be an impact bat in the middle of the order. Lastly, it is time to move on from Francisco Cervelli. While he has been an awesome presence with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team has two suitable replacements. The team would clear over $10 million in additional salary to put towards upgrades at other positions on the team.