The New York Yankees Broke Francisco Cervelli

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece for Bleeding Yankee Blue where I described watching Francisco Cervelli, the New York Yankees catcher who had been demoted to Triple A baseball on the day before the team broke camp.  It had been widely reported that he was visibly upset at the news of having to report to the Scranton-Wilkes Barre team rather than travel to Tampa with the club, and I wanted to see the effects upon the 26 year-old.  What I witnessed was not good.  The spirited dynamo that was Francisco Cervelli seemed to have disappeared.

I decided yesterday to check out the SWB Yankees site and see if Cervelli’s stats proved he should be with the big league club.  To my disappointment, they do not.  To date, in 44 at-bats he has just seven hits – a .159 average.  He has no stolen bases (one of Cervelli’s big advantages over other catchers was his speed), and has struck out 10 times (that’s nearly 25% of his AB).  In his three full years with the New York Yankees, Francisco Cervelli carried a .272 batting average and struck out 17 percent of the time.  Clearly his demotion has “left a mark”.

As I said in my original article, I blame New York Yankees management, in particular Brian Cashman, for “breaking” Cervelli.  I still question the wisdom the GM showed in getting an older, slower, poorer hitter to replace Cervelli as Russell Martin’s backup with the Bombers.  Yes, Chris Stewart is a better defensive catcher, but Cervelli was still developing and there is plenty of time for him to work on his catching skills while continuing to provide a decent replacement in the batting order.  Now, I wonder if Francisco Cervelli will ever be the same.

For the catcher, the time is now to prove that he belongs.  While this season’s return to the New York Yankees hangs in the balance, he has to pull himself out of his funk and rekindle the drive that endeared him to Yankee fans far and wide.  Right now there is no doubt that New York Yankees management is looking at the statistics as justification for Cervelli’s demotion and not realizing that they may be the result of a broken spirit.  Only Francisco Cervelli can correct that.

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  • Tanned Tom

    Backup catchers keep their jobs through defensive prowess: handling a staff, throwing out runners, framing pitchers. Stewart is easily better at this than Cervelli is. The decision wasn’t particulary a hard one. And with his concussion history he’s too fragile anyway. Leave him in AAA or trade him, it doesn’t matter. Let’s move on.

    • Steve Skinner

      You are right, we should move on. What is done, is done. I disagree about a backup being there strictly as a defensive fill-in. I’d much rather have someone who I could also use as a pinch-hitter or pinch runner late in games. We will have to agree to disagree on this one. Thank you very much for your comments. I really do appreciate them.

  • coolnewyorker

    The Yankees must right the wrong imposed on Cervelli. It was a huge needless action of disrespect on an athlete who always performed his best, who filled in superbly when called upon.

    CC should step up and demand his immediate recall. It is WRONG not to. WRONG!!!

    • Steve Skinner

      He gave us 3 years and 99 percent of a spring training and Cashman disregarded it. I hope he turns it around and am pulling for him. Look for me to provide updates on him from time to time. Thanks for the comments and the read!!

  • Shavager

    I wouldn’t have been as surprised had the backup been an up and coming rookie like Romine or Sanchez, but have to say replacing Cervelli with Stewart doesn’t pan out as a smart move with Cervelli’s experience with Yankee rotation and Stewart’s weaker bat production. Just as surprising as Cashman failing to get more rotation help and wind up with Garcia and Colon last season–by season’s end and playoffs both had “tired” arms and failed to produce when needed the most. Or Scott Procter and Sergio Mitres for the bullpen, makes you want to say C’MON MAN, what are you thinking?

    • Steve Skinner

      I totally agree. Your examples of Proctor and Mitre are EXACTLY my thoughts as well though I do think that Mitre was a Girardi request since he had him in Florida. He had some man-love thing going on with Mitre (maybe his hair?). Anyway, I digress. Not really sure what Cashman is thinking about these days but, I do know that things just havent been the same since George gave up control.

      • coolnewyorker

        Stewart’s acquisition per se, with no regards to Cervelli is highly questionable. But Cervelli’s needless demotion consequent to such move is not at alL questionable. It is blatantly WRONG! WRONG!! WRONG!!!

        Cashman has been making disastrous decisions in trades and player acquisitions the past decade. His handling of Jete’s contract was no less disastrous. But this breaking of Cervelli reflects an action by a tyrant with a cruel arrogant sense of impunity.

        Let us right a wrong. I call for Cashman’s dismissal. It’s time.

    • Ironpigs Fan

      On 4/28 against the Ironpigs, Cervelli had 5 at bats with two singles, a double, and 1 RBI. Sure looked like Major League material to me. The first player on the field to warm up and he was all about business once he strapped on his guards.

      I sure hope that limo rider from NY was paying attention and informs the yanks.

      BTW, one the field, he was all business. He did manage to sign my sons bat outside the stadium. A true class act and deserving of the Blue and White. Keep up the great work Franscisco!

      • Steve Skinner

        That is GREAT to hear! That sounds like the Cervelli I remember with the Yankees. Hopefully he’ll get called up. As you said, he’s a class act and plays with so much heart.

  • Suzy

    I love the Yankees. I loved them more when Cervelli was there. He brought something extra with his passion and enthusiam. He looked like he knew being a NYY was the best thing in the world and he was making the most out of every minute. BTW his batting average is now better than Martin’s. Cervelli didn’t deserve to be treated the way he was and I believe it reflects poorly on Cashman to do it at the last minute like that.

    • Steve Skinner

      Totally agree.