As first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Pirates have acquired catcher Francisco Cervelli from the Yankees. Joel Sherman at the New York Post confirms the news and says left-handed reliever Justin Wilson is headed to the Yankees in return.
This likely signals the end of the Russell Martin era in Pittsburgh, if that wasn’t already apparent. The free agent backstop reportedly wants something similar to the five-year, $85 million deal that Brian McCann received from the Yankees last winter.
Cervelli had an excellent .301/.370/.432 batting line this past season with New York, but that high-level production came in just 49 games. He was a .271/.343/.367 career hitter heading into 2014.
Wilson was one of the most effective relievers in baseball in 2013, posting a 2.08 ERA across 73 2/3 innings, but the 27-year-old southpaw regressed to a 4.20 ERA in 60 innings this past summer for Pittsburgh.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.