Francisco Cervelli was listed on Italy’s provisional roster when it was announced last month, but it turns out that he will not participate in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Cervelli confirmed this morning that he has withdrawn from the tournament. As it stands right now, the 26-year-old projects to share catching duties with Chris Stewart this season, so his first priority is to stay in Yankees’ camp and secure a spot on the Opening Day roster. Italy will push ahead with Twins’ catcher Drew Butera and Giants’ minor league catcher Tyler LaTorre.
Cervelli is currently being investigated by MLB for his alleged ties to the Miami-based Biogenesis clinic and biochemist Anthony Bosch. He admitted earlier this week to meeting with Bosch following a 2011 foot injury, but he maintains that he never received any performance-enhancing drugs.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon is reportedly open to a contract extension with the Nationals, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post said Sunday. Rendon told reporters that he didn’t know if agent Scott Boras would discuss an extension with the club, contrary to previous reports confirming the two had already started that conversation.
Rendon, 27, is coming off of his best career year to date. He finished the 2017 season batting .301/.403/.533 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI through 605 plate appearances, good enough to earn him sixth place in NL MVP voting. He made his third postseason appearance after helping Nationals through the National League Division Series, and contributed a pair of extra-base hits before the team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 5.
Rendon is still arbitration-eligible through 2019, but stands to receive a hefty payday once he enters free agency in 2020. While it stands to reason that the Nats would want to lock up a player who contributed a whopping 6.9 fWAR last year, making him the most valuable player on their roster, an extension appeals to Rendon as well. “Why not stay with one organization?” he said Sunday. The 2018 season will be his sixth with the team.