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Friday, November 30, 2012

ALL EYES ON CERVELLI AS RUSSELL MARTIN BOLTS NEW YORK

Yesterday at the airport, I was thinking about Russell Martin... no...not in that way bro... in the "Free Agent way." I was thinking about him not coming back to New York. To be honest, I never expected the Pittsburgh Pirates to be the team that would beat out the Yanks when it came to something like this, but they did and congrats to them. They're getting a great defensive catcher.  But as I sat there thinking, that question about Martin popped in my head, What happens if he leaves?  It's was a question that George King III of the New York Post first "kind of" posed in his piece on November 28th HERE... writing "...the Yankees don’t have a catcher on the roster or in the system capable of being a No. 1 catcher."  That simple sentence stood out to me, because, King's right...he's always right.

the Yankees don’t have a catcher on the roster or in the system capable of being a No. 1 catcher

Read more: Pirates, Rangers in hot pursuit of Yankees' Martin http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/yankeesblog/pirates_rangers_in_hot_pursuit_of_DIYxAC5an9skQnJPIi3E3I#ixzz2DfpN5Mr0
the Yankees don’t have a catcher on the roster or in the system capable of being a No. 1 catcher

Read more: Pirates, Rangers in hot pursuit of Yankees' Martin http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/yankeesblog/pirates_rangers_in_hot_pursuit_of_DIYxAC5an9skQnJPIi3E3I#ixzz2DfpN5Mr0
Russell Martin is now gone, leaving to play for the Pirates for 2 years and $17 million, read HERE. Is it a big deal? Well, in the sense that we have no top catcher on the Yankees right now, it is a big deal, but now we need to see who the men are and who the mice are.  Don't know what I mean? Enter Francisco Cervelli ladies and gentlemen.
Right now the top catcher in the Yankees system is Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine. Logically, you have to daydream at this moment and wonder what Yankeeland would have felt like if Jesus Montero was still in our farm system, or better yet, backing up Martin all season.  If that was the case, there would be no panic in Yankeeland right now. We would logically pass the torch to Montero and hope he would shine.  But those days are over and we are left with Cervelli and Romine. Not exactly a bad problem, just an interesting one.

Both guys are good, but not great.  Plus, don't forget, the Yanks signed Eli Whiteside only to designate him for assignment (read HERE) when the Andy Pettitte signing became official. What we got ain't much, but it's something.

But back to my man vs. mouse analysis.  This is the time when we see what Francisco Cervelli sees... he sees an opportunity, a huge opportunity. The question is, will he fight for it or let it pass him by.  A better question... Will he get it? The answer... Doubtful. It's nuts to think about this, but I have never felt like Cervelli got a fair shot in New York, ever. I feel like Yankees treat the guy like a black sheep, an embarrassment and whenever he shows up, they push him to the back of the room.  Well, truth be told, only 1 man can push to make this situation work in his favor and that's Francisco Cervelli.
Now, truth be told, Cisco isn't the best and he'll admit that too, but he is the most passionate ballplayer I've seen in a long, long time.  Look, passion doesn't win ballgames if you can't play. But believing in yourself helps you push to be the best and in turn, wins ballgames.  Cervelli does that and now, there's a window and he needs to make presence known.

Don't forget, Cervelli had a terrific Spring Training in 2012 and on the last day, he was told to go to AAA and the Yanks traded for Chris Stewart as their backup to Martin. While Stewart did fine and was better defensively than Cervelli, there is no doubt Cisco got screwed.  It's my opinion that the heart in Cervelli is so big, his energy is so visible that I would have made him the backup. It's logical... He had earned it last spring and should have been there.
Now, as we head into winter, no one in Yankeeland knows what's next.  But if I'm Cervelli, I'm anxious right now because you don't let chances like this go by without a fight...unless you're a mouse.  But let's be honest, the fight will still be hard.  The Yankees have been connected to Mike Napoli for weeks along with other teams.  The Yankees will be heading into the Winter Meetings looking for a number 1 catcher right now...and disregarding Cervelli once again, probably making him feel like a second class citizen and trust me, if it happens again, and I'm Francisco Cervelli... I walk.

Look, the time is now. The Yankees either need to give our youngsters a shot, or they'll upgrade via trade or free agent. But something needs to happen.  Do we need to panic? Not exactly.  Sure, Martin was a great defensive catcher, but like my friend Bob wrote on Twitter last night:

That's it in a nutshell. That, my friends makes perfect sense to me.  Look... people are mad at Russell Martin for walking and they're mad at the Yankees and Brian Cashman for letting him walk.  But mark my words... and write this down;  They let Martin walk for a reason. They have a plan, because Lord know you don't walk into Spring training without a top catcher.  Who will it be? Cervelli? Joe Mauer? Austin Romine? Kelly Shoppach? Who  the hell knows... but Cash knows what he's doing...  I trust him... so let's wait and see.

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