Detroit Tigers: Taking on contracts could provide useful in adding prospects

Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
PITTSBURGH, PA – APRIL 13: Francisco Cervelli #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks in from the bullpen prior to the game against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park on April 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Francisco Cervelli

The Pirates are also no strangers to salary dumps.

Pittsburgh flipped Francisco Liriano, along with well-regarded prospects Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire to Toronto for Drew Hutchison.

If the team looks to move on from more prominent contracts, Francisco Cervelli could conceivably be dealt.

Cervelli’s impact has slowly diminished over the last few years.

Since posting a 3.7 WAR and a 117 wRC+ in 2015, the backstop has a cumulative 2.6 WAR. This includes a 1.0 number in 2017.

His wRC+ is down to 93 this season after checking in at 98 in the 2016 campaign.

Additionally, the veteran’s strikeout rate continues to rise. It reached 21.4% this year after finishing at 18.4% and 18.3% in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Other notable contracts

Owed $10.5 million in 2018 and $11.5 million in 2019, per Spotrac, Cervelli is Pittsburgh’s most expensive player outside of Andrew McCutchen.

What’s more, the Pirates will also see (according to Spotrac) the salaries of Josh Harrison, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco rise over the next few seasons due to previous extensions.

There’s also Gerrit Cole’s two remaining years of arbitration, as well as closer Felipe Rivero’s first foray into the arbitration process.

In short, the small-market Bucs could use the financial flexibility.

Taking on Cervelli’s deal along with a prospect like shortstop Cole Tucker, first baseman Will Craig or reliever Dovydas Neverauskas would certainly help the Detroit Tigers.

Meanwhile, in this hypothetical scenario, the veteran catcher would see time as James McCann’s primary backup. John Hicks would shift to first base in the scenario.