The Miami Marlins have reportedly signed veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli to a one-year, two-million dollar deal.
Cervelli comes to the Marlins after stints with the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates last season. He’s entering his 13th season and should fill the much-needed veteran backup catcher role for Miami. The 33-year-old had a difficult 2019 season, hitting just .213. But Miami is hoping for a bounce-back year, not unlike what they’re looking for from Matt Kemp, and for someone to provide a steady veteran presence in the clubhouse and for the young pitching staff.
Cervelli spent most of his career with the New York Yankees, including some time as Marlins CEO Derek Jeter‘s teammate. Known as a defensive catcher, Cervelli boasts a .990 career fielding percentage and has thrown out 24 percent of base-stealers. He has 46 passed ball and 50 errors over his 12-year career.
Cervelli wields a dependable bat for a backup catcher. He sports a .269 career batting average and a .358 on-base percentage. Cervelli has kept strikeouts to a minimum over his career and draws walks regularly. He’s hit 38 home runs, 100 doubles and 268 RBI in 12 seasons.
The news was first reported by Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
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Cervelli steps into the backup catcher role filled primarily by Bryan Holaday last season. Holaday played in 38 games as a catcher last season and slashed .278/.344/.435 with four home runs, six doubles and 12 RBI. Holaday was designed for assignment and elected free agency in October.
With Jorge Alfaro set to be the starter in 2020, the only other catcher on the 40-man roster is Chad Wallach, who played only 19 games last season. Wallach missed the majority of 2019 due to concussion issues,.
Cervelli’s veteran presence and defensive mindset could aid in Alfaro’s development. He should also help guide Miami’s young pitching staff. Cervelli joins Kemp, Yimi Garcia and Gosuke Katoh as free agent signings this winter.