By Jason Shetler
On Tuesday, the Pirates and Francisco Cervelli agreed to terms on a three-year extension worth $31 million. Cervelli became an instant fan favorite in Pittsburgh last year, not just because of his endearing personality, but also being able to replace Russell Martin, which most thought wouldn’t happen.
Cervelli put up the second highest on base percentage for a NL catcher in 2015 at .370. He’s picked up where he left off, posting a .386 OBP, which is currently second best among all MLB backstops. Another thing that has remained very consistent for Cervelli is his ability to frame pitches, and he’s one of the best in the game right now. Since Cervelli was mainly a backup catcher before arriving to the Pirates, he doesn’t have a ton of mileage on him in terms of innings caught over his career, so he should remain durable in the three seasons of his extension. Cervelli was set to become a free agent after this season, and could have easily tested the market for a very large payday, but given his relationship with the Pirates and the city of Pittsburgh, it’s not really that much of a surprise that he agreed to an extension. With the Pirates having Elias Diaz in the organization, a Cervelli extension didn’t have to be mandatory, but now that it’s complete, it becomes a fantastic move that nobody should dispute.