Was Francisco Cervelli going to be the next Russell Martin? For a while, it looked that way, as there were no talks of an extension between the Pirates and Cervelli in his contract year.
That all changed on Tuesday afternoon, as the Pirates announced they have agreed to terms with Cervelli on a three-year contract extension that would keep the fan-favorite catcher in the city through 2019.
The deal is believed to be for $31 million, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
Sources: Francisco Cervelli has signed a three-year contract extension with the Pirates. Total money is $31 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 17, 2016
With Reese McGuire in the minors, Cervelli was thought to be a stop-gap, along with minor league catcher Elias Diaz until McGuire was ready. However, Diaz went under the knife earlier this season to get Tommy John surgery.
According to the release, since being acquired by the Pirates prior to the 2015 season, Cervelli has recorded the best on-base percentage (.374) among all major league catchers while posting the third-best batting average (.290) and the third-most hits (160) among all backstops behind Yadier Molina (174) and Salvador Perez (167). This season the 30-year-old Cervelli has also thrown out eight baserunners attempting to steal against him, which is tied for the second-most among all backstops in the National League.
“We are very pleased to be able to reach a joint commitment with a quality player and person like Francisco Cervelli,” said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington in the release. “We look forward to Francisco’s abilities, passion and energy making us better through at least the 2019 season.”