Williams: The Pirates Have a Difficult Decision to Make Behind the Plate This Offseason

Williams: The Pirates Have a Difficult Decision to Make Behind the Plate This Offseason

The Pirates have a difficult decision to make this offseason when it comes to their 2018 starting catcher.

On one side of the debate, they have Francisco Cervelli. The current starting catcher put up a 3.7 fWAR in 2015, then signed an extension early in the 2016 season. He followed that up by missing time with injury, but still managed a 1.6 fWAR.

This year the injuries have continued -- a trend that has existed throughout his career, minus that 2015 season -- and he will finish the 2017 season with an 0.9 fWAR. He's being paid $9 M this year, and that's about the cost of a win above replacement on the open market, so his deal is almost fair value.

The problem the Pirates have here is that Cervelli will make $22 M over the next two years, and even if he produces fair value, they'r...

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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, 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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