Saturday, December 22, 2012


“Beam me up, Scottie!  No life forms here!”  This is how I felt until, "Bam!", we signed Youk and Ichiro in the same week!  I still say, however, we need more.  As Yankee fans, we deserve more.  Yet, in reality, do we have it within?  I mean, for you superhero fans, can we "transform" our so-so catchers in the farm system to superhero ball players?  Do we need a Yankee Intervention of epic proportions?

Let’s take focus on catching and unusual suspect: Francisco Cervelli.  Does he have what it takes to be our everyday catcher?  What are the qualities of an everyday catcher? 

“These days, a lot of people baby the catchers,” Jose Molina said, before adding: “You’re a catcher. Just stand there, be a man and take the hit. If not, go to first base, go to second and play another position. I hate seeing G.M.’s and owners saying, ‘I don’t want my guy to block the plate.’ That’s being a baby. It’s the position of a man and toughness. You’re going to get some, and you’re going to give some. I’ve had my share, but I’m still standing.” (Read the full New York Times piece HERE.) Can Cervelli do this?
Can he take it like Buster Posey, the Molina brothers, and Matt Wieters?  Can he do it everyday like Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk?  I don’t think so, unless we are putting some kind of superhero strength in his hands and in his body.  He just isn’t going to be our everyday catcher and the organization knows it.

As New York Daily News Guy Mark Feinsand said (HERE) in October, “Francisco Cervelli spent the summer hoping for another shot. After spending parts of three seasons in the majors, he was sent to the minors on the final day of spring training this year.”  And he spent most of the year there, until October.  As we know, earlier in the year, “General Manager Brian Cashman, seeking more catching depth, traded the right-handed pitcher George Kontos to the San Francisco Giants for their backup catcher, Chris Stewart, and optioned Cervelli to Class AAA Empire State.”  It hurt Cervelli’s heart and I don’t know if mentally he could pull off the full time catching job even though he has gotten some clutch hits for us, batting a career .271.

No more Martin, no more Molina, Cervelli can’t hack it- now what? 
I’ve watched Austin Romine in Staten Island and in Trenton.  He’s got something, but is he ready?  I feel like he is a career minor league catcher.  He is a Bull Durham, minus the looks- sorry Austin.  According to the Star Ledger article “After Russell Martin’s Departure, Yankees Foresee Next Catcher Coming From Within Organization, it seems that our manager has his uncertainties.  “I think (Stewart, Cervelli and Romine) have the ability to do the job. Does Romine have enough experience right now? I don’t know. But the other two have been big-league catchers and performed pretty well back there.”
(In Photo: Chris Stewart, left)
Austin will battle Chris Stewart and yes, Cervelli for the vacated spot behind the plate.  Chris has something to offer as well but he can’t hit (career .217)- and we know how that feels given the closing of our 2012 season.  But the Yankees may just be stalling for time.  According to the same Star Ledger article (HERE), “The Yankees hope the next man to take over behind the plate is only there for a couple of years as they have high hopes for 19-year-old Gary Sanchez, who hit 18 home runs and drove in 85 runs combined at Class-A Charleston and Tampa last season.”  Let’s hope that trend continues for the young catcher.  We really need some magic back there.

Calling all Superheros- can we have a stand in catcher for two-years?  How about one?  Any takers? Anyone?

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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