In the middle of May it looked like the Yankees had such a good backup to catcher Jorge Posada that they might even have a future starter on their hands. After all through Francisco Cervelli‘s first 20 games he had a staggering .400 batting average and an impressive .987 OPS. Obviously he wasn’t likely to keep that up, but if he could come even close to that the Yankees had a real secret weapon.
The problem is that Cervelli hasn’t even sniffed those numbers and has been about as close to an automatic out as you can get. This coming at a time in Posada’s career where he is just not able to handle the load of everyday catching.
Here are Cervelli’s numbers since May 18:
33 G, 101 AB, 6 R, 19 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 14 RBI, 11 BB, 17 SO, .188 AVG, .274 OBP, .238 SLG, .511 OPS.
With numbers like those the Yankees might as well have Chad Moeller as their backup catcher.
At this point it could be reasonable to wonder how bad this will get before the Yankees make a change. Not only has Cervelli gone over a month under the Mendoza-Line (under .200), but he has almost no power whatsoever in his bat.
What’s making this harder is that Jesus Montero is in Triple-A and after a very slow start to his season he has picked it up. During the month of June Montero hit .283 with nine doubles, two triples, and three homers. That’s 14 extra-base hits compared to Cervelli’s three over the same span.
Cervelli is a skilled backup catcher, especially defensively, but he has almost been the Yankees regular with Posada dealing with foot problems. At a certain point it might be wise to carry three catchers including Montero until Nick Johnson returns from his wrist injury. Montero might not be 100 percent ready, but it’s probably better than having an automatic out in the lineup everyday.