The Braves have signed catcher Francisco Cervelli to a major-league deal, the team reports.
Cervelli, 33, was granted his release Thursday by Pittsburgh to allow the 12-year-vet to join a contender down the stretch. After reportedly declaring in early July that his big-league backstop tenure, marred by persistent concussive setbacks, had come to its end, Cervelli reversed course, anchoring down on a proposed course that would again find him behind the dish as soon as he was able. He appears, after just six rehab games, to have reached that point.
The longtime Yankee backstop, who came into his own mid-decade with the Buccos after taking the reins from Russell Martin, has slumped to his worst career season in ’19, slashing just .193/.279/.248 in 123 plate appearances. Still, Cervelli’s just a year removed from a 125 wRC+, 2.6 fWAR line in just 404 PAs, so there may yet be some juice left in that tank.
He’ll look to stabilize a wobbly catching situation in Atlanta, where longtime starter Tyler Flowers has slumped miserably in the season’s second half, slashing just .188/.257/.359 in near-full-time duty. Whether or not Cervelli will receive regular time behind the dish isn’t yet clear, but a few more withered Flowers efforts and the Venezuelan could be thrust quickly into the mix.