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According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Cervelli confirmed this morning that he has withdrawn from the tournament.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.
It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.
That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.