Recently I've heard a lot of Cervelli bashing here and I am utterly perplexed at how some people can hate him so much. Make no mistake, Cervelli is not that good. His fielding is bad. His hitting is subpar. So why do we keep him around? Oh, I know why, he's a catcher and he hits decent for a catcher. On top of that he's a backup catcher and when you think about it, he's actually a really good piece to have. Let me show you how good he is.
I was on Fangraphs and I decided to search for the best catchers in MLB. I used the range 2009-2011, since that is the span that Cervelli has been an MLB regular and I found that he put up a 1.9 WAR in that time. That doesn't look like much, but he's a catcher that actually holds up to his peers. How good was 1.9 WAR? Well between those years Cervelli is tied for #15 in WAR. Of all the catchers out there that contributed to their team, out of the 53 catchers on this list, Cervelli was the 15th best. Of the catchers ranked above him, only one (Russell Martin of course) played in less games and had less PAs. So basically all the catchers ahead of him are MLB starters. If you're keeping score at home, that would make him the backup catcher with the highest WAR from 2009-2011. That's how good he's been in comparison to catchers and especially backup catchers.
One more thing. He's dirt cheap too! According to Fangraphs Dollar Value calculator, Cervelli was worth $7.9M over three years. According to Baseball-Reference he has made less than $1M during his entire career. That type of production for that small amount of money is exactly why the Yankees keep him around and why he is absolutely serviceable as a BACKUP. CATCHER. So the next time someone complains about how Cervelli shouldn't be on the roster, that he has no power, or whatever, remember: he's actually produced well for the small role he is expected to fill. It could be a lot worse.
Cervelli is just a place holder until one of our prospects can make it to the MLB, but in the meantime we actually have it a lot better than most teams. He's nothing important, but he's nothing detrimental to this team. So next time he ground out or claps too hard, remember, we could have Jeff Mathis as our starting catcher (#53 on the list).
Eh, I think I can live with him