Cashman: New catcher “likely” already with organization

I don’t want to say I told you so, but:

With Russell Martin heading to Pittsburgh, GM Brian Cashman has another player to replace, although he doesn’t anticipate making a big splash.

“It’s possible our catchers are on our roster right now,” Cashman said. “That is very well possible and more likely than not, but we’ll see.”

There could, of course, be better options, but that’s not necessarily likely to be the case if the Yankees don’t intend to make a push for Mike Napoli or A.J. Pierzynski. Truth be told, as annoying as it would be I don’t think there could be a better public face for the “new” Yankees than Francisco Cervelli (or Chris Stewart) starting at catcher.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

22 thoughts on “Cashman: New catcher “likely” already with organization

  1. Oh, if only we didn't DFA Whiteside…

  2. Chad

    I loathe Cervelli as much as anyone, but since when was Martin such a great catcher? His offensive numbers weren't great and are generally declining to boot. To me, the fact that most of the other catchers sucked offensively last year (and in recent history) is not a compelling enough reason to pay a premium for Martin. There are plenty of other catchers who can "suck" just the same while making a fraction of the salary. If losing Martin allows them to pay the likes of Pettitte and Kuroda over the likes of Freddy Garcia, then I'm all for it.

  3. uyf1950

    I'm not sure what we would expect Cashman to say. Do we really expect him to say "we have no faith in the guys on the roster to catch so going outside is our only option. It would seem to me he played the politically correct game in saying they could be on the roster they may very be on the roster we'll have to wait and see.
    I think sometimes we tend to read to much into generic comments. As we all know Cashman plays thing very close to the vest. He's not inclined to show his hand before he has to.

    • roadrider

      100% Remember when the starting CF was going to be Bubba Crosby? Then Johnny Damon suddenly appeared. This far out from ST I wouldn't exactly carve Cashman's words in stone.

  4. David

    Chad — the difference is that Martin added (positively) with both his defense and, if you believe any of the new metrics, with his glove as a pitch framer. Even I, who actually very much like Cervelli, don't believe that Cervelli > Martin, either offensively or defensively, let alone handling a pitching staff (which is the actually most intangible, least measurable and possibly MOST important function).

    I won't be horribly upset to see Cervelli there every day (at least I say this now), but it's not remotely close. People focus on Martin's early- and mid-season struggles and completely forget that he launched 20 HR and finished at a torrid pace…

    • Chad

      I wasn't meaning to dismiss the defensive side completely. I just tend to think that they can find an "all glove, no bat" type catcher relatively cheaply.

      I actually think the Martin supporters are remembering that "torrid" finish (which raised his BA all the way up to .211 or something). Outside of a hot few weeks here and there, he's been pretty bad offensively as a Yankee. Throw in a consistently increasing strikeout rate with a declining walk rate, and I just don't see what the big deal is.

      • BrienJackson

        Of 18 "catchers" who logged 400 plate appearances last year, Martin ranked 11th in fWAR, a metric that doesn't account for pitch framing. I say "catcher" because the list includes guys who aren't getting all of their at bats at the catcher position by any means. This tells you two things:

        1. There aren't that many catchers out there who really rack up a full workload in a season.

        2. Given that, Martin has been solidly above average for the position.

        The idea that you can easily replace Martin with any old body is just wrong. You may think it's still not worth it to pay martin rather than trot out a replacement level alternative, but that's not the same thing as saying you can just plug in Chris Stewart or Eli Whiteside and not notice a difference. To then take it to the point of saying that you shouldn't pay a catcher like Martin the going rate just because good starting catchers are scarce we need to be working from the premise that having an above average (or even an average) starting catcher simply isn't that important.

        • Chad

          I believe Martin is more in the "average" category than the "solidly above average" category, especially given his generally declining trends. But that doesn't really affect my argument that much.

          Currently, the average (or even "solidly above average") MLB catcher does have great offensive stats. Even if Martin is relatively a good offensive catcher, his stats in the grand offensive scheme aren't very impressive. In my view, given the lower offensive standards for catchers, the drop-off from a guy like Martin to a guy like ______ isn't a big deal (and that's assuming they don't make another move at catcher).

          At a historically more premium offensive position like 1st base, such a drop-off would probably yield a much more significant disparity in offensive numbers and cause me more concern. But with the offensive bar set so low at catcher, I don't see it as being a big deal. Especially when that financial difference can be used towards retaining a starting pitcher, or maybe an elite second baseman who's up for free agency soon.

          • NYsteve

            The catcher touches the ball more than every otherposition player does throughtout the game (combined most of the time) Martin made very few errors and threw out baserunners at a very decent %. He also had some pop and could draw a walk. Since when is it preferrable to plug a replacement level player into the most important position on the field?

          • BrienJackson

            "In my view, given the lower offensive standards for catchers, the drop-off from a guy like Martin to a guy like ______ isn't a big deal "

            The difference between Martin's 2012 wRC+ and, say, Chris Stewart's career wRC+ is the equivalent to swapping 2012 Adam Larouche with Carlos Lee.

            "Especially when that financial difference can be used towards retaining a starting pitcher, or maybe an elite second baseman who's up for free agency soon. "

            Well that's the rub: there's no reason you can't do all of that.

          • Chad

            The reality is that the Yankees have a budget, and by all accounts that budget is tightening. I think a lot of the "outrage" over losing Martin is not necessarily mourning the loss of a decent but not spectacular player. It's that it may end up being the first obvious example of cutting corners.

            Of course I would rather have Martin instead of _______. But the cold truth is that for better or worse the Yankees have a budgetary goal for 2014 which seems set in stone. Given their previous commitments and future needs, they are going to "pinch pennies" somewhere. And I'd much rather have that frugality cost them an average catcher as opposed to a starting pitcher or stud second baseman.

    • uyf1950

      My friend he struggled offensively more then just early and mid-season. From April through August he had 14 HR's, 36 RBI's was batting .198 with a .301 OBP and .667 OPS. Yes he did do much better the last 26 games of the regular season. But that's 26 games of the 133 games total he played. So basically 80% of the season offensively he was terrible to pathetic and 20% of the season he was what you would expect a player to be. And for that and his ability as a defensive catcher he expected the Yankees and other teams to offer him a multi-year deal. I don't know if I'm in the minority or not but most of the blogs I read there are pro's and con's by posters when they talk about Martin leaving. I for one believe that change is a good thing and I believe for the Yankees a change at the catching position will be for the better and sooner rather than later. And like I said here on a different blog about Martin it's not even December, let's give it some time and see how things shake out. Just my opinion.

      • jay_robertson

        Exactly – he was good in 26 games. When Cano or Jeter are BAD for 26 games, its called Small Sample Size.

        Oh well – he's gone, we can move on. Might have to watch a few games just to watch the interplay between AJ and Martin.

  5. OldYanksFan

    I thought they should go after Martin but as things are, if the go in-house, that's $8m more to put into RF. Let's offer Hamilton 1/$25m and see what happens.

    • Norm

      I doubt if the Yankees would ever go after Hamilton, for 2 reasons. First, he wants too much money, and isn't likely to sign here for one year when he can get a multi-year deal elsewhere. Second, given his previous history of drug and alcohol abuse, how would he handle the pressures and temptations of playing in NY? This is a guy that fell of the wagon more than once playing in TX. I'd think coming NYC, where there are more bars in a 5 block radius than all of Arlington, and where there are hundreds of people ready, willing, and able to sell him all kinds of illegal substances could be a recipe for disaster. I could be wrong but, IMHO, that's a train wreck the Yankees would prefer to avoid.

  6. Bill

    And Bubba Crosby was going to play CF in 2006 and Nick Swisher was going to play 1B in 2009. I'll believe Stewart or Cervelli will be the starting catcher on April 1, when one of them is in the lineup. Not before.

    • ProfRobert

      What an appropriate day for that to happen, don't you think?

    • Mike

      It would be a nice surprise for Cashman to pull one of his kung fu moves. I guess we never saw the other ones coming either but I really can't even think what kind of haul they'd have to part with to get a decent catcher. There's just so much of a premium on the position due to scarcity.

  7. Phil

    I doubt its Cervelli….His defense is in question and if he couldn't beat out Stewart last year as a backup what makes you think he will start this year. I believe if you're going to say okay not much hitting production from catching I would give the job to Romine. In 2011 he had a good year and I know he missed most of 2012 but he is the best option on the roster now.

    • Rob

      That is a bit unfair. He didn’t lose out his job to Stewart. Once the AAA club lost their catcher the organization needed a replacement. It was a simple decision because Stewart had no options left on his contract to be sent down while Cervelli did.

  8. NYsteve

    "Both the Braves and Reds are trying to acquire a leadoff hitting left fielder, reports ESPN's Jim Bowden (on Twitter). Both teams had interest in Denard Span before he was traded to the Nationals.
    Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/#clRE8zTH8RMEbY8b.9

    "The Diamondbacks want Andrelton Simmons from the Braves in a Justin Upton trade, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Earlier this month we heard the Rangers tried to acquire Simmons so they could flip him to Arizona for Upton.
    Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/#clRE8zTH8RMEbY8b.9… "

    After reading these 2 rumors (sorry for the long cut/paste) anyone care to try and play GM? Granderson and Romine for McCann? Maybe Granderson to DBacks for Upton ? There is no way Cashman goes into spring training without making a trade for a solid catcher. I'm stuck on McCann though, maybe because I've lived in ATL for 8 years and I remember the Braves shopping him last season. What other catchers were rumored last year around the trade deadline and/or have expiring contracts/are due a significant raise?

    • uyf1950

      I seriously doubt the Yankees would consider even trading just Granderson for McCann let alone Granderson and Romine. First off McCann is scheduled to make $12MM in 2013 and then become a FA and he's not the type of player the Yankees would re-sign come the 2014 season. Second I think if the Yankees do trade Granderson they are going to want to get guys back that they can control salary wise for more then just the 2013 season. Third, if the Yankees included Romine in that package you are talking about for McCann that would leave them bone dry in the catching department for the 2014 season when they didn't re-new McCann for the reason(s) I mentioned. Also, correct me if I'm wrong but didn't I read somewhere where McCann won't be ready for the start of the season because of an injury?

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