Seattle Mariners: 4 Under-the-Radar Offseason Trade Targets
By Ty Gonzalez
C FRANCISCO CERVELLI
There hasn’t been a whole lot of talk about it, but there’s a real chance Mike Zunino could be moved this offseason. I proposed the idea that he could be packaged in a deal for someone along the lines of Kevin Kiermaier, subtracting from one position to supplement another. Why? Because the catching market is rich with strong, veteran talent this offseason.
In the event Zunino is dealt, the Mariners will likely aim for the free agency market to start. However, if they find themselves on the outside of a pursuit for a Robinson Chirinos or Jonathan Lucroy, they could turn their attention to a catcher making a nice chunk of change on a team that doesn’t like spending a whole lot: Francisco Cervelli of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates have consistently hovered around being a bottom-five team in terms of payroll over the years. Cervelli is due $11.5 million this season, which is tops amongst current Pirates players. Despite how good Cervelli has been since 2015, the Pirates have a younger, cheaper option in Elías Díaz who produced at a similar level to his counterpart last season.
Pittsburgh doesn’t need Francisco Cervelli moving forward, and they’re likely not too thrilled about the prospect of paying a 32-year-old catcher nearly $12 million to play just 100 games. If the Mariners were to strike a deal for Cervelli, look for the compensation to run a notch above what the Rays received from the Phillies in their Wilson Ramos deal from the deadline.
Ramos produced at a better clip than Cervelli last year, but he was injured at the time of the deal and was no more than a two-month rental. Cervelli is a full-year rental, but the price tag and age should drive his price down a bit.