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Marlins sign Cervelli to one-year deal

@JoeFrisaro
January 9, 2020

MIAMI -- The Marlins added an experienced backup catcher to assist the development of Jorge Alfaro. Francisco Cervelli, a 12-year MLB veteran who broke in with the Yankees in 2008, finalized a free-agent contract with Miami worth $2 million on Thursday. Cervelli is a former teammate of Marlins’ chief executive

MIAMI -- The Marlins added an experienced backup catcher to assist the development of Jorge Alfaro.

Francisco Cervelli, a 12-year MLB veteran who broke in with the Yankees in 2008, finalized a free-agent contract with Miami worth $2 million on Thursday.

Cervelli is a former teammate of Marlins’ chief executive officer Derek Jeter, having played for New York from 2008-14.

In 714 MLB games, Cervelli is a career .269/.358/.380 hitter. The 33-year-old also has played some first and third base, but his primary roles in Miami will be to backup Alfaro and assist in developing the club's young pitching staff.

Last season, Cervelli split time with the Pirates and Braves, appearing in just 48 games, while batting .213/.302/.348. He served a 60-day injury list stint due to his sixth documented concussion. He was with the Pirates from 2015-18.

The Marlins have been in the market all offseason for a veteran backup catcher. Currently, Alfaro and Chad Wallach are the only catchers on the 40-man roster.

Wallach made the Opening Day roster in 2019, but appeared in just 19 games, missing time with a concussion.

Bryan Holaday became the primary backup catcher for Miami last year, but he was designated for assignment in October and became a free agent.

Alfaro was acquired from the Phillies as part of the J.T. Realmuto trade. The 26-year-old hit .262 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs last season.

The Marlins last week added catching depth with the signing of Ryan Lavarnway to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Catchers B.J. López and Santiago Chávez also are non-roster invitees.

With Cervelli’s deal close to being finalized, the Marlins’ next order of business will be to continue to explore the free-agent market for hitters. Outfielders Yasiel Puig, Kole Calhoun and Corey Dickerson remain possibilities, but none is considered close at this time.

The Marlins also are exploring free-agent relievers.

Clubs have been calling on the Marlins’ controllable starting pitchers, but the organization at this point is in no rush to trade from its position of strength.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.