Number 4 – Pirates Acquire Francisco Cervelli
With Russell Martin hitting the free agent market, and returning to his native Canada, the Pirates were left with a hole at catcher following the 2014 season. With the free agent market was thin, the Pirates went out shopping and acquired what would be their primary catcher for the next half decade.
For Francisco Cervelli, the Pirates sent to the New York Yankees left-handed relief pitcher Justin Wilson. Wilson had struggled the season prior with the Pirates (4.20 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.32 WHIP), but was still just 27-years-old, and did well in 2013.
Cervelli on the other hand had always showed the potential of being an everyday catcher, but was blocked by the likes of Martin, and Jorge Posada. When Cervelli finally did get the chance to play regularly in 2015, he hit for a strong .295/.370/.401 line, and posted solid defensive numbers (+8 DRS, 0.5 dWAR). He was also a plus pitch framer, all of which led to him post a 5.9 fWAR.
While Wilson was productive in his one season with the Yankees, it only lasted 61 innings. Cervelli, on the other hand was fairly productive with the Pirates when he was healthy. Cervelli became a fan favorite and fell in love with the city of Pittsburgh as much as the city did him. Early in the 2016 season he signed a contract extension with the Bucs that kept him around for three more seasons.
Overall, he finished his Pirates tenure with a .264/.362/.374 line in 1734 PA’s. You can read more about Cervelli’s tenure with the Bucs here: Top 10 Pirates Players Of The Decade: 6-10