Yankees acquire Stewart from Giants, Cervelli sent to Minors
The Yankees have acquired Chris Stewart from the San Francisco Giants for right-hander George Kontos, and Stewart will be the big league backup catcher. Because Stewart is out of Minor League options, a shocked Francisco Cervelli has been told that he will begin the year at Triple-A.
“It’s not my decision and that’s it. I’m disappointed with this,” Cervelli said. “That’s not going to change anything. All my life I have to do things, and I have to do it double, triple. If they want me to prove that I can catch in the big leagues, I’ll go there and I’ll prove that I have to be here.”
Yankees GM Brian Cashman explained that with Austin Romine unavailable due to injury, he felt the team was lacking organizational catching depth.
“That will give us a lot more depth given the Romine injury is going to take a little longer because he had a setback recently,” Cashman said. “We feel that Cervelli is a Major League backup, without a doubt. Now we’re back to where we were before the Romine injury, even though it’s not a good situation for Cervy to go to Triple-A. Organizationally, we’re in a good place with Russell Martin, Stewart and Cervelli.”
A red-eyed Cervelli said he didn’t accept the explanation. Cervelli had been told all spring he would serve as the backup catcher.
“I don’t know. I don’t understand their reason,” Cervelli said. “I think maybe you’ve got to ask Cash, or somebody else. Maybe the other guy (Stewart) is better than I am right now. I just play baseball, no matter where it is, and (I will) show them that I’m a big league catcher, like they say.”
Manager Joe Girardi said breaking the news to Cervelli was difficult.
“This was a tough one,” Girardi said. “Our depth for catching with Romine being hurt was really thin. We know how quick it can happen for a catcher, but it was tough. It’s as tough as I’ve had to do.”
In other moves, Girardi said that the team is “leaning toward” carrying right-hander David Phelps and left-hander Clay Rapada on the roster. Outfielder Justin Maxwell has been designated for assignment. Rosters are due to be finalized at 5 p.m. ET.