Pittsburgh Pirates: Three More Way to Open Payroll

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /
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Francisco Cervelli

Last season, the most talked about Pittsburgh Pirates player in terms of trade bait was Francisco Cervelli.  Cervelli was having a very productive season in 2018 until he started to battle recurring concussion symptoms.  Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates back up catcher Elias Diaz took over behind the plate and arguably produced even better than Cervelli.

Cervelli batted .259/.378/.431 with a career high in home runs with 12.  He did this through 104 games.  Meanwhile, Diaz in 82 games batted .286/.389/.452 with 10 home runs. So Diaz extrapolated over the course of a full season may be more productive than Cervelli next year anyhow.  Should the team pay Cervelli that amount of money to play second fiddle?

So with Cervelli’s injury concerns and Diaz’s emergence as a potential starting catcher in this league, should the team look to deal Cervelli?  Cervelli is entering the last year of his contract which sees him making a team-high $11.5  million in 2019.  The team has to consider if paying him the highest contract on the team is worth his production when they have Diaz at a cheaper rate.  Furthermore, trading Cervelli could bring in a solid prospect or two. Also, the team can then use the $11.5 million to invest in other areas of the team.