Last night I mentioned that the Pittsburgh Pirates had previously expressed interest in Francisco Cervelli multiple times. They finally acquired him from the Yankees yesterday for Justin Wilson. Joel Sherman reports that this isn’t the first time a Wilson/Cervelli deal was proposed.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 13, 2014
I’m guessing that by “two years ago”, he means for the 2012 season, since that’s when the rumors started with Cervelli. The Pirates might have been better off making that deal, rather than signing Rod Barajas. Wilson was still a starting prospect at the time, but made the switch to the bullpen at the end of the year and got a September call-up in Pittsburgh. It appears both teams still maintained interest in each player, and the circumstances changed to the point where the Pirates were willing to give up Wilson to get Cervelli.
**Speaking of Joel Sherman, he had an article today on Ike Davis, saying he is the odd man out in Pittsburgh. In the article, he quotes Neal Huntington who says that the first base job, as it sits now, will belong to Pedro Alvarez. Davis has been learning the outfield, but would be very expensive at $4.4 M for his role, which would be number five on the outfield depth charts, and number two on the left-handed first base depth chart. Sherman indicates that the team could non-tender Davis by the December 2nd deadline. I would be surprised if this happens.
For one, Davis still has enough value that they could get something for him in a trade. They might have to tender him an offer and commit to that $4.4 M salary to get that return, much like the New York Mets did last year. That brings me to my second point. If Russell Martin signs elsewhere, the Pirates will have plenty of money to spend. Even if they spend a lot on pitching, they could still afford to hold onto Davis. It would be expensive, but it would give them depth, specifically if Josh Harrison struggles or gets injured. That would allow them to shift Pedro Alvarez back to third base and play Davis at first. I think the best move would be trading Davis, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to tender him a contract before that happens.
**The Philadelphia Phillies signed several minor league free agents today. One of those free agents was Chase d’Arnaud, who was recently outrighted off the 40-man roster by the Pittsburgh Pirates. D’Arnaud was a 4th round draft pick in the 2008 draft, which was the first draft under Neal Huntington.
On a personal note, back in 2009 I started this site to track the Lynchburg Hillcats, which at the time was about the only team in the system that had actual prospects. Towards the end of the season, I had this idea that the small blog I was running might have a chance to be something bigger, and maybe a full-time job. So I took all of the money the site earned for the first eight months of existence ($50, and that came from posting daily for eight months), bought a digital media recorder, and intended to interview some players to get something more than just nightly box scores. The first person I interviewed was Chase d’Arnaud.
I talked to Chase about this last month when I was in Pittsburgh, and we joked about the interview. He didn’t realize that was the first time I interviewed someone (at the time I was a business major with no journalism background), and said that explained the sheet of written down questions I brought, not to mention how nervous I was during the interview. That interview can be read here.
I don’t know how the site would have done without that interview. I talked with a lot of other players over the next few weeks, and I feel like it helped to say “I also interviewed Chase d’Arnaud.” And those interviews might have also helped me get credentials to cover the Hillcats in their championship run that year, which in-turn helped me to get credentials with other teams the following year, then eventually every team in the Pirates’ system, followed by the Pirates themselves (which, incidentally came on the night of d’Arnaud’s MLB debut, for the purposes of covering that debut).
Back when I started this site, I was a Pirates fan who wanted to write my thoughts on the team, the farm system, and provide resources to follow the big league club. After doing this for a living for a few years, I don’t consider myself a fan of any team anymore. I like the Pirates in the same way I like the Rays, the Athletics, and other small market teams. Now I primarily root for individuals, especially the guys I’ve covered along the way. In d’Arnaud’s case, I’ll be pulling for him to have success elsewhere because he’s a good guy, but also because of the role he played in helping this site go from a small blog to where it is now. I wish him the best of luck, and hope he’s able to make the majors in Philadelphia.