The Pirates announced just before today’s game that they placed catcher Francisco Cervelli on the 7-day concussion DL. Fellow backstop Jacob Stallings has been recalled to take his place on the active roster.
That’s unwelcome news for the Bucs, who say that Cervelli alerted the organization to symptoms last night, per MLB.com’s Adam Berry (via Twitter). At this point, the prognosis is unknown.
It is hard to overstate Cervelli’s importance to a Pirates club that is trying to hang in a tough NL Central race. He has been not only one of the team’s best players, but one of the very most productive receivers in all of baseball. In just 218 plate appearances, Cervelli has already set a career-high with nine home runs and carries a .257/.390/.486 slash with a healthy 14.2% walk rate.
If the Pirates can’t stay close enough to a postseason berth, of course, some summer trade movement is likely. In that event, Cervelli could be a major possible trade asset — if, that is, the 32-year-old is at full health.
Under the three-year, $31MM extension Cervelli signed early in the 2016 season, he’s owed $10.5MM this season and $11.5MM for 2019. Those contract rights could hold appeal for contenders, but the injury questions have certainly mounted in recent seasons.
The veteran backstop missed significant time in 2017, ending the season on the DL owing to a quad injury. Earlier in the year, he twice spent time on the concussion DL. Unfortunately, today’s news represents a continuation of a rather extensive history of head injuries for Cervelli.