Pittsburgh Pirates News: Francisco Cervelli’s Catching Days Are Over

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Amid concussion issues and a handful of IL stints, Pittsburgh Pirates back stop Francisco Cervelli calls it quits on his catching career.

Ahead of Sunday’s game, Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli told Dejan Kovacevic that he will no longer suit up behind the dish.

“That’s enough,” Cervelli said. “This time is different. I can’t live like this.”

Having been on the IL since June 4th, Cervelli hit just .193/.279/.248 while being limited to just 34 games this season.

Since being traded to the Pirates by the New York Yankees in the offseason following the 2014 season, Cervelli has been placed on the Injured List (formerly the Disabled List) a total of 11 times, with eight of those occurrences due to concussions or concussion-related symptoms.

Of those eight stints that were associated with Cervelli’s concussion issues, five of them have come in the last two seasons, resulting in the 33-year-old to play just 138 out of the team’s 249 games since the start of the 2018 season.

In 700 career games as a Major Leaguer, Cervelli has played 663 of those games behind the plate, logging a total of 5385.1 innings caught. In addition to catching, Cervelli has played 13 games at first base, accumulating a total of 92.1 innings there. The veteran backstop has also played five innings at third base and three innings at second base with the Yankees.

Growing up in Venezuela, Cervelli played mostly second base and shortstop, but when the Yankees signed him as an international free agent five days before his 17th birthday, they had plans for him to try catching.

In 2008, Cervelli made his MLB debut as a September call-up for the Yankees, playing three games down the stretch. The following year, he played a total of 42 games, hitting .298 while throwing out an impressive 10 runners on 23 attempted steals.

Over his seven-year stint with the Yankees, Cervelli hit .278/.348/.381 in 250 games in pinstripes, throwing out 31 out of 144 runners attempting to steal and committing just 25 errors and seven passed balls.

Since the Pirates traded Justin Wilson for Cervelli back in 2014, he has hit .264/.362/.374 in 450 games with the Buccos. He’s thrown out 85 out of 317 runners attempting to steal with 39 passed balls and 24 errors.

With Cervelli now seemingly out of the equation for the catcher spot, Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings will continue to split time behind the dish for at least the near future.

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In the final year of a three-year contract, Cervelli’s future with the Pirates remains largely uncertain, as the team is currently in good shape around the infield with Josh Bell, Colin Moran, Adam Frazier and Kevin Newman all playing well of late, not to mention the young talent they have with Cole Tucker, Kevin Kramer and Ke’Bryan Hayes waiting for their chance to shine.

Additionally, the outfield is also crowded, as Starling Marte, Bryan Reynolds and Gregory Polanco all under contract for next year. And without any outfield experience, it seems unlikely the Pirates would even explore that as an option for Cervelli.