Pirates Prioritizing Finding a Catcher, Yankees a Match

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have prioritized finding a catcher this off-season, and speculates that the New York Yankees could be a match.  Sherman mentions that the Yankees are expected to keep Russell Martin, and that Jesus Montero will be his primary backup.  He says that the Yankees could dangle Austin Romine, although they prefer him at AAA as a Plan B to Montero.

The guy that Sherman says the Yankees would trade is Francisco Cervelli.  We heard rumors in July that the Pirates and Yankees had discussions about Cervelli.  Sherman wonders whether the Pirates, or any other team, would view him as a potential starter or a safe acquisition due to his concussion issues.

It’s doubtful that Cervelli would cost much, although he’s not much of an upgrade over the current options in the system.  Romine would be the better choice, although he’s far from a guarantee for success in 2012, since he’d basically be making the jump from AA to the majors.

The Pirates have made it clear that they won’t pick up the options for Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder, which has led to speculation on the 2012 catching position.  I’d be surprised if the Pirates entered the 2012 season with a combination of the players they currently have, unless of course they manage to bring back Doumit or Snyder through arbitration or at a cheaper rate.  The Pirates were linked to a lot of catchers in July, and this news from Sherman suggests that they haven’t moved on from seeking outside help at the position.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ron-Leighton/1000137680 Ron Leighton

    I need to keep telling myself that catcher is a defensive position (along with first and short)

  • http://twitter.com/KraigK KraigK

    There’s always Tony Sanchez on the horizon. No wait, he stinks. Scratch that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KEYHS3XWH74U3LRIHGWL7XPBA Nate

    Question on Sanchez:  

    The general consensus of the fan is that he stinks.  We’re not seeing power numbers and you read here and there that his defense isn’t even that great.  His 2011 wasn’t anything to write home about.

    How accurate are these statements?  Does his 2011 performance, by itself, negate the possibility of having him start the 2012 season in Pittsburgh?  What kind of translation/equivalent would be be looking at?  I don’t think it’s crazy idea to have him start in Pittsburgh.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      I don’t think he can start in Pittsburgh in 2012. He needs time to rebound from his 2011 season, whether that’s back in AA, or getting a push to AAA like d’Arnaud saw after his poor year in AA in 2010. Overall, the opinion on Sanchez really depends on how you view his 2011 season. Is it a down year or is it proof that he’s a bust? I say it’s a down year. His K/BB numbers suggest that he wasn’t overmatched.

      You look at a guy like Sanchez (.241 average, .658 OPS) and you look at a guy like Matt Curry (.242 average, .694 OPS). I’d put more on Sanchez bouncing back from those AA numbers, as Curry struck out 29.8% of the time and walked 9.4% of the time, while Sanchez struck out 18.9% of the time and walked 10% of the time. They have similar numbers, but Sanchez had the better approach at the plate, which shows in his K/BB numbers, specifically with the strikeouts. Yet I think people will give Curry another chance, while listing Sanchez as a bust.

      • Matthew Spicer

        The big difference in those statistics you gave for Sanchez and Curry is that Curry put up those numbers in only half a season after skipping a level to make what you sometimes say is the hardest jump for hitters that much harder, while Sanchez put those numbers up over a full season after spending the entire previous season (and even the very end of the season before that) at high-A. Also, you did not address the part about Sanchez’s defence. I hear that sometimes as well, and I always wonder if there’s any legitimacy to those claims.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think Sanchez “stinks”, but I don’t think he’s ready to make the jump to the majors, either. He needs to demonstrate an ability to hit upper-minors pitching before he’ll be ready for a promotion.

      • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

        There’s definitely a huge middle ground, as there would be with any prospect coming off a down year.

  • Anonymous

    IMO, catching will not be a difficult problem for the pirates to solve in this off season, pitching and bullpen are the biggest issues to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vince-Riedy/100002800992567 Vince Riedy

    Francisco Cervelli is poor offensively and defensively and there are zero indications he will improve.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

    Some people’s comments nearly inspire me to throw my computer across the room.  Anyone here think that maybe Sanchez’s down year was in part due to making the jump to AA, and in part to suffering the injuries he did the year before.  To assume he would have hit .300 or over would have been a ludicrous projection.  His defense isn’t good enough?  All I’ve heard in regards to his defensive abilities were that, even if he didn’t necessarily improve his offense from this year, he would still ultimately prove to be a viable option down the road.  He’s a loser?  He stinks?  You’re the one sitting on your computer bitching about him while he’s out there getting paid to play a boy’s game.  Give it until the all-star break in ’12 to let him have it.  It’s about growth, hence, the “farm system,” not running up numbers in games that essentially don’t even count in the first place.

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