The Pirates made a smart move today by extending their catcher. Francisco Cervelli has been a great fit in Pittsburgh since arriving there last year. He has played so well in Pittsburgh that he was just awarded a nice lucrative deal for a player like himself, which is a straight three-year deal with no options worth $31 mil, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Next, the Pirates won the deal that landed Cervelli from the New York Yankees. That was the deal that the Yankees received southpaw Justin Wilson, who is now currently a Detroit Tiger. Cervelli was a successful backup in New York, but since Clint Hurdle gave Cervelli the starting job last year, he has been everything they dreamed of when they acquired him. General Manager Neal Huntington has done a great job as the Pirates GM, but this was one of his better trades and extension signings.
Furthermore, the 30-year-old catcher is a solid two-way player that can hit the baseball and play excellent defense. Between both of his seasons in Pittsburgh, Cervelli has hit a solid batting line of .291/.373/.384. Also, to go along with his hitting stats, he has hit 7 home runs and drove in 61 RBIs. He is a discipline hitter by showing he can draw walks and by not striking out as much as others. He has drawn 67 walks and only struck out 119 times. Cervelli will not impress you with his home run production, but he will find ways to get on base. It is impressive that he did this all in 163 games.
Finally, he is probably a top five defensive catcher in the game today, which he can frame pitches, throw base runners out, and control the game just as good as the other top catchers. Interestingly, Cervelli has caught 33% of his base runners trying to steal a bag off him. The league average is high this year, which sits currently at 32%. Also, he actually improved on throwing out runners, which he was below average in 2015 by only throwing out 22% when the league average was 28%. Lastly, he led the league last year in assists as a catcher with 82 and is currently first in the 2016 season with 22.