Sunday, November 16, 2014


Look, it is hard to say goodbye sometimes especially when you become attached to someone. Trust me, I know I am constantly called things like "prospect hugger" but we become very attached to players. Francisco Cervelli had an energy to him. He was that spark plug on the field that the Yankees needed for a long time. Now he is gone, and I know a lot of people that are upset by this but.....this could work out better for him and open new doors for everyone else involved.

They say when one door closes another one opens, and I think this could be the case for a lot of people on both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Yankees. The Yankees have lost Cervelli but we also gained a hard-throwing lefty and anytime you can gain a lefty you are ahead of the game, at least in my book.

The Yankees have been searching for a reliable lefty in the bullpen, we had David Huff last year but Justin Wilson has a power arm that is hard to ignore. Wilson had an outstanding 2013 season ending with a 6-1 record and a 2.08ERA and held lefties to a .501OPS. In 2014 he wasn't as dominate but was 3-4 with a 4.20 ERA and held lefties to a .681 OPS.

He has the experience and he throws hard. He has three pitches that he relies on that has proven to fool hitters. He has a fastball and a sinker that can hit over 96 mph and a cutter that hits 91 mph. He has proven himself AND he wants to be a Yankee.

These past few seasons I have really appreciated the players that bring that sort of passion to the table, yes....even Cervelli too. Look, he is already looking forward to wearing our uniform, how can you not like that?

Truth of the matter is, Cervelli was not going to get a chance to be a starting catcher here. Brian McCann has that job, regardless of his underwhelming 2014 season. The Pirates could use Cervelli as a starting catcher next year in the event that Russell Martin leaves for a multi-year deal from another team, which is a real possibility. Isn't it funny how Cervelli will be playing once again with Chris Stewart? They were the catching tandem that we used to replace Russell Martin after 2013. Baseball is funny like that.

So now what about the Yankees? We have a lot of catching depth, so while we will miss Cervelli's energy and charisma we have plenty of in-house options to backup McCann. Spring Training will be interesting to watch because while John Ryan Murphy looks to be the favorite for the backup position now, the Yankees still have Austin Romine in the system too. He was once hyped as the next big catcher for us and they are still waiting to see his potential shine through his injury plagued past. Could this be the year that he overcomes that?

I have always been a big fan of Murphy. My close friends know that I have hyped him a lot. He is young, he will turn 24 this year and he plays a great defensive game. He is smart, he analyzes hitters so he knows how to catch them off guard and he calls a good game. There is definitely room for improvement with his bat, but again he is still young, and it will come. Murphy really stepped up this past year when McCann and Cervelli were not able to play. The Yankees have faith in this kid, and we should too.

Next season will be interesting to watch as we have fewer familiar faces on the team, but maybe that is a good thing. Change can be hard, but this could benefit everyone.

Thanks for all of the memories, Cervelli. I know I didn't say that often enough. Good luck in Pittsburgh, and Wilson....welcome to pinstripes!

 --Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ

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