Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Cervelli Still Gaining Interest

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Winter Meetings are just getting started, but the rumors are already heating up across the league.  There has only been one for the Pittsburgh Pirates thus far.

Last week, we had an article here at Rum Bunter speculating that the Houston Astros could be interested in Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli.  Well, apparently that is a reality as Buster Olney of ESPN has reported that multiple teams, including the Astros, are interested in the veteran backstop.  Olney’s report is posted on ESPN+ which is only viewable if you are a subscriber.

The Pittsburgh Pirates could have multiple teams interested in Cervelli.  The other teams that Olney suggests could be interested are the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets.  These are two new teams that have entered the fray.  All three teams make logical sense with having needs behind the dish.

While the Houston Astros picked up catcher Robinson Chirinos, he likely would be better served as a backup catcher.  He rates as a below average catcher with -11 defensive runs saved and only threw out six would-be base stealers in 59 attempts.  Chirinos is a bat first catcher who has nice power, but he also struck out over 30 percent of the time last season, so adding Cervelli still would make sense for the Astros.

Meanwhile, the other two teams both have long-time trading relationships with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Neal Huntington.  The Los Angeles Dodgers have made plenty of trades with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Dodgers also have a need at catcher with Yasmani Grandal hitting the free agent market and likely commanding a large contract.  The team currently has Austin Barnes, but he is a defensive minded catcher and barely hit over the Mendoza Line with a .205 batting average, they definitely could use a significant upgrade.

The other team is the New York Mets, who look like they are pushing their chips in for the 2019 season.  The team apparently is interested in Marlin’s backstop JT Realmuto, but are having trouble matching up on a deal.  Currently, their top options are Kevin Plawecki and often injured Travis d’Arnaud.

Their starter last year was Devin Mesoraco, who is now a free agent.  The New York Mets have already brought one former New York Yankee back to New York in Robinson Cano, so maybe they will do the same with Cervelli.

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While Cervelli has had strong tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates, it is likely the best time to deal him away.  He has one year remaining on his contract at $11.5 million.  This would open up a good chunk of change for the Pittsburgh Pirates to reinvest.  Meanwhile, acquiring teams are solely looking toward 2019 and do not have to worry about giving a multi-year contract out.  Elias Diaz proved last season that he is more than capable to take over as the Pittsburgh Pirates everyday starter in 2019.