Daily Archives: January 4, 2013

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees claim Russ Canzler off waivers, DFA Chris Dickerson

The New York Yankees have a new player on their team, although it’s not the way that everyone prefers. Instead of signing a free agent, the Yankees claimed Russ Canzler off waivers from the Cleveland Indians. He’s speculated to compete for the 4th OF spot with Matt Diaz. In the minors Canzler hit .289/.365/.508 with about 1,000 AB in the International league.

To make room for Canzler on the 40-man roster, the Yankees have designated OF Chris Dickerson for assignment. Honestly Yankees, everyone’s getting tired of the ‘Lets DFA Chris Dickerson‘ game. He’s a great RF and for a moment, I considered him a great bench/Swisher replacement–before you DFA’d him…today.

In Other News:

— There has been no date set for Alex Rodriguez‘s surgery. No one is sure if it’s a set-back but it could be a problem if Rodriguez’s return is postponed by a week or two. Brian Cashman already believes that the 2013 Yankees aren’t going to hit as many HR’s as the 2012 Yankees since the departure of Nick Swisher and Russell Martin along with the injury to A-Rod. Well, maybe if you went to the Winter Meetings and got some big pieces like you were supposed to, then hitting HR’s wouldn’t be a problem.

Cervelli Not A Starting Caliber Catcher

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said yesterday that he expects Austin Romine to start the year in Triple- A, which would mean that Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart would handle the catching duties for the Yankees this season.

“I expect Romine to go to Triple-A,” Cashman said. “He missed all of last year, almost . . . I don’t expect him to be our everyday catcher out of the gate. He always has the possibility of taking it, but realistically, if I were in prediction mode, I’d say Triple-A.  But he has a chance to alter that.”

Romine, who played in only 31 games last due to a back injury, has not yet played a full season at Triple-A. The Yankees have insisted that they would fill the void left by Russell Martin internally.  Despite holding out hope myself that it wasn’t true it appears to be the case since the Yankees had no interest in A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year deal.

Cervelli is very popular among a lot of fans for reasons I don’t understand, but he has not proven to be a starting caliber catcher at the MLB level and I don’t think he ever will be. It is crazy that the Yankees said they had no interest in Pierznyski because of his defense when Cervelli would probably make him look like a gold glove award winner.

The Yankees are losing a great deal of defense behind the plate if Cervelli starts compared to what Martin gave them last season. Over his last two seasons with the Yankees Cervelli has thrown out a putrid 16% of base stealers (13 out of 79). His fielding runs above average for the last three years with the Yankees were -4.4, -3.2 and -.2. Also, in 2010 Cervelli had 13 errors in 90 games and in 2011 Cervelli had 6 errors in 41 games. Cervelli’s pitch framing and game calling will not come close to being what Martin’s was either.

Despite his .271 career batting average Cervelli is not a good hitter either. You should know by now that you have to dig deeper than batting average nowadays to determine somebody’s hitting value and Cervelli’s average is about as empty as a .271 average can be. First of all, if he was ever given regular playing time I don’t think he would maintain that .271 average, but that is besides the point.

Cervelli’s career OPS is a putrid .692 and his W/OBA in 201o was .317 and in 2011 it was .319. Cervelli has zero power and of his 133 career major league hits only 27 have been extra base hits. Cervelli’s BABIP in 2010 was .316 and in 2011 it was .315, which means that  he has been pretty lucky. Also, Cervelli’s line of .246/.341/.316/.657 in Triple-A last year was abominable. Perhaps you can blame that on him not being happy down there, but still it is not a good sign.

I’m not a huge advocate of Roomine starting either but I would still take him over Cervelli. Romine is an unknown who I would rather take a shot on rather than Cervelli because I pretty much know what Cervelli is going to do. Maybe I am missing something about Cervelli, but I really don’t know what that can be. The Yankees’ handling of the catching situation has been awful this offseason and it might hurt them greatly in 2013 since it is such an important position.