Throughout the big league career of Francisco Cervelli, if it could go wrong, it has. From injuries to a demotion, to bottoming out with a 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis. The 28-year-old has one last chance to prove his worth to the Yankees this spring, and is competing for the back-up catcher’s role to starter and free agent acquisition Brian McCann. After only a handful of days in full squad camps, Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman has recently stated that Cervelli has a leg up on his fellow competitors for the job.
For Cervelli, getting this one last chance may be the only reason he is leading the pack. Cashman stated: “He has a leg up because he’s out of options.” Cervelli is competing alongside Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy. Both Romine and Murphy have higher ceilings than Cervelli, but they can be sent back to the minors for more seasoning. If the Yankees determine one of them is the better option than Cervelli, he will most likely be a roster casualty and either be dealt or given his outright release.
Cervelli might have missed his chance to entrench himself with the big club, having won the starting catcher’s job out of spring training a year ago, only to suffer a broken hand after a foul tip bit him at the end of April. At the time of his injury, Cervelli was hitting a respectable .269 in 61 at-bats. By the time he had healed up and was ready to return, the remainder of his season was lost to a 50-game PED suspension. Yankees manager Joe Girardi seems to prefer Cervelli over the younger candidates, saying: “He’s got more experience than all of them and he played very well the short time that we had him last year.”
Hopefully for the Yankees, the last thing they will need to worry about is who is McCann’s back-up. If McCann gets injured, that’s where the trouble at the catching position may once again rear it’s ugly head, and at that point, the Yankees may be in deeper trouble than they wish to think about.