The Pittsburgh Pirates have addressed one of their numerous needs – acquiring catcher Francisco Cervelli from the New York Yankees, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees will receive left-handed relief pitcher Justin Wilson in return.
The move helps to address voids in both the Pirates’ lineup and Yankees’ bullpen, but could also signal that the Pirates do not believe that they will re-sign Russell Martin. Martin has become a hot commodity this offseason, with numerous teams believe to have already expressed an interest – including the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles, Toronto Blue Jays, and others.
After battling multiple injuries and a suspension for taking performance enhancing drugs in 2013, Cervelli enjoyed a strong bounce back year in 2014 – though he was limited to just 49 games by a hamstring injury and migraines. Cervelli batted .301/.370/.432 with a pair of home runs and thirteen runs batted in. Even in a small sample size, Cervelli put together a strong 128 wRC+ in 162 plate appearances this past season, while enjoying an extremely high .408 BABIP.
The 28 year old catcher could see a big boost in his numbers with increased playing time – a real possibility should Martin not return to the Pirates. For his career he’s a .278/.348/.381 hitter with 10 HR and 92 RBI.
Wilson, 27, put together a 3-4 record and 4.20 ERA in 70 appearances out of the bullpen for Pittsburgh this past season. He struck out 61 batters in 60 innings of work. Overall Wilson is 9-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 136 appearances over the past three seasons. He’ll give the Yankees an additional bullpen option who actually holds righties to a lower batting average than lefties (.206 vs. .234).