Cervelli was the 24th or 25th man on the Yankees’ roster. All roster spots are fair game for speculation and debate. We here at IIATMS have done so with Freddy Garcia, Raul Ibanez and others. That’s all fair in what we do. But for the Yankees to choose Chris Stewart over Cervelli and crying a cruel foul is like saying the Yankees stuck it to Jorge Vazquez by not giving him a chance to DH over Andruw Jones. We may debate the merits of Andruw Jones versus Jorge Vazquez, especially after the start Jones has had to this point. But saying the Yankees screwed Vazquez personally would be all wrong. In the team’s best estimation, Vazquez could not add wins to the Yankees’ win column. And that’s the bottom line here.
The crux of Skinner’s point is contained his this paragraph:
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.
There are two different thoughts in his paragraph. One is debatable. The other is not. The first is that long-term, Cervelli was a better option for the Yankees. The thought is implied more than stated openly. The second thought is that Cashman broke Cervelli and Cervelli will never be the same. That thought is spurious. Cashman didn’t make a personal decision. He made a business one. We can debate if he made the right one after the season is over. Will Stewart’s defense be worth an extra win for his overall game than the perhaps negligible advantage Cervelli might have provided offensively? When a win could separate a division title winner from the next team, your marginal players become important sources for advantages. So that is a fair question. We won’t know until the dust settles.
I wrote a piece myself when the decision was made feeling sorry for Cervelli. It was a tough blow. But to make it very clear here, Brian Cashman was not an evil man doing an evil thing to the catcher. Cashman’s job is to give Joe Girardi the best roster he can to give Girardi the best chance to win the division. In Cashman’s estimation, with input most likely from Girardi, Stewart provided a better value proposition for the Yankees than Cervelli did. It is that cut and dried. There is nothing else to see there.
While I felt and feel for Cervelli, I never extended those feelings to the decision the Yankees made. I never took my own feelings on how it feels to lose a job to make Cashman the symbol for all the mean and unfeeling bosses of the world. Cashman and Girardi had a decision to make and made the best one they could for the team. Nothing personal.
Skinner is right about one thing. What happens next for Cervelli is totally up to Cervelli. He needs to pick up the pieces and build some value for himself in case the Yankees can use him in a pinch or for another team to be interested in his services. Whether it’s because he is “broken” or because he simply is off to a bad start, Cervelli isn’t building himself much value right now. That’s on him, not on his evil former bosses.