Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Yankees’ thin catching corps was left more vulnerable when it was revealed Tuesday that Francisco Cervelli, one of the two leading candidates to be the team’s starting catcher, had visited a Miami clinic under investigation for dispensing performance-enhancing drugs.
Cervelli said on his Twitter account that he took no banned substances and was only seeking “legal ways” to heal a foot injury he sustained in March 2011.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said he could not discuss the issue because it was in the hands of Major League Baseball, but he said nothing had happened in the last 24 hours that would make him rethink the Yankees’ plans at catcher.
“We have Cervelli and Chris Stewart, with Austin Romine on the outside looking in,” he said.
Based on what’s come out so far, it doesn’t seem like there’s enough evidence that Cervelli will be suspended. I don’t know if Cervelli or Stewart is the better option for primary catcher. Cervelli projects to be the better offensive player, but Stewart has the edge defensively. For the projections I have now (CAIRO, Clay Davenport, Marcel, Oliver and Steamer) Cervelli would project to be worth about 64 runs per 650 PA(.248/.318/.352) and Stewart would project to be worth about 61(.237/.304/.349). Based on the defensive numbers we have for both, Stewart probably makes up the difference. Cervelli projects to be worth about 2 runs worse than average over 130 games, Stewart projects at around 14 runs above average, with the appropriate small sample size issues for both.
The problem with losing Cervelli would be having Austin Romine on the big league roster when he’s likely to get sporadic playing time. He’d be best served playing full-time in AAA in my opinion.
But I am guessing it will be a non-issue.