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Monday, July 08, 2019

Cervelli: I’m done catching after 6th concussion

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli said Sunday that he is done catching after suffering his sixth documented concussion in the major leagues.

“That’s enough,” Cervelli told DKPittsburghSports.com. “This time is different. I can’t live like this.”

He hasn’t played since suffering his latest concussion after taking a broken bat to the chin against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 25.

Cervelli, 33, told the website that his decision isn’t being pushed by the team.

“I’m ready to do anything,” he said. “Wherever I am in the field, I’m still catching the ball, right?”

He has been getting work at third base and other infield positions after being cleared to resume baseball activity.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2019 at 10:53 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: francisco cervelli

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   1. Rennie's Tenet Posted: July 08, 2019 at 12:56 PM (#5859886)
They should have done this a couple of years ago. I think that if he can stay healthy, he can maybe be the short side of a platoon. He's 33, his contract is up at the end of the season, and the Pirates have averaged 6 runs per game for a month. I wouldn't go out of my way to get him playing time right now.
   2. base ball chick Posted: July 08, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5859919)
i sinerely hope he has not had any significant brain damage

they really REALLY need to figure out how to get a helmet that stops concussions
   3. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: July 08, 2019 at 03:45 PM (#5859975)
This makes me sad.

Our nickname for him over at Bronx Banter (when he played for the Yankees) was Frankie Brains, I'm hoping he's ok going forward.

6 concussions is a lot.
   4. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 08, 2019 at 05:09 PM (#5860015)
Smart move for his health. But his free agency options this offseason will be very limited.

The Pirates probably didn't plan to pay him $5M in the second half to pinch hit.

At what point is it breach of contract?
   5. RoyalFlush Posted: July 08, 2019 at 05:43 PM (#5860032)
At what point is it breach of contract?


I would assume this can't happen because of the CBA. Besides, aren't the Pirates refusing to provide a safe work environment?
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 08, 2019 at 05:52 PM (#5860037)
At what point is it breach of contract?
The Pirates would seem extremely ill-advised to claim breach of contract. Wouldn’t most competent medical authorities advise someone with at least 6 concussions to avoid exposing themselves to activities with high concussion risk?

Cervelli may be headed to retirement after this season. He hasn’t played much at other positions, and may not have the bat for them even if he had sufficient defensive skills. I could see him getting a spring training invite, but a guaranteed contract would seem unlikely.
   7. Captain Supporter Posted: July 08, 2019 at 06:07 PM (#5860045)
At what point is it breach of contract?


Not this point, that's for sure.
   8. Cris E Posted: July 08, 2019 at 06:13 PM (#5860048)
This is happening more and more. Mauer and Morneau both wrapped up early due to concussions, and they're just the former Twins that have quit for that reason in the past couple years. (Morneau caught until rookie ball, but he was also a hockey goalie.) And St Paul's Tim Tschida retired as an umpire a few years before that also due to concussions.

Anyway there are plenty of theories out there, but my favorite for groups like this is the lighter mask that doesn't bring the inertia like the monster metal masks of olden days. As fastballs move faster the masks are getting lighter and passing more and more of the energy right back to the guy wearing it. Your neck may not get as tired, but your head pays the price when you eventually get hit. YMMV.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 08, 2019 at 06:17 PM (#5860051)
Wouldn’t most competent medical authorities advise someone with at least 6 concussions to avoid exposing themselves to activities with high concussion risk?
Yes, and even most incompetent ones.
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 08, 2019 at 06:32 PM (#5860060)
Wouldn’t most competent medical authorities advise someone with at least 6 concussions to avoid exposing themselves to activities with high concussion risk?

I would think that point would be way before the 6th concussion.

I've read two accounts recently from friends on social media who suffered non-sports related concussions and took months for them to get back to normal function (no vertigo or problems looking at screens, etc). And one of my best friends quit mountain biking a year or two ago after his second concussion. Granted, biking wasn't his profession, and his brain is pretty important for his actual job, but still I wouldn't blame anyone who wanted a career change after 2 or 3.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: July 08, 2019 at 06:44 PM (#5860064)
Yeah, he has an easily-winning argument that any inability to perform is due to a baseball-related injury. It's no different than a catcher whose knees are blown or a pitcher whose shoulder only allows him to throw 85 now.

The closest analogy that springs to mind is Gil Meche. He retired a year early rather than go through another round of pointless rehab. Basically what a player has to do is follow the team's instructions on working to get back on the field. Meche wasn't willing/able to do that but also agreed that he shouldn't be paid if he wasn't willing to try to get back on the field.

In this case, Cervelli is clearly trying to get his way back on the field, he's just no longer able to play catcher (and would have little trouble finding a medical opinion to that effect). The Pirates would not only likely lose any arb/court case, it would be terrible PR for them and it would open a massive legal can of worms for MLB/NFL/etc. (Granted, that can of worms is gonna get opened sooner or later.)

Beyond the medical issue there's also the case that MLB contracts can't contain "performance" clauses. There will be nothing in Cervelli's contract about having to remain a defensively competent catcher to be paid. He's willing and apparently able to take the field -- the fact that he unfortunately might now be kinda useless as a MLB player is as beside the point for him as it is for Chris Davis.
   12. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 08, 2019 at 06:46 PM (#5860066)
Part of the problem--speaking as someone who has had two diagnosed concussions and at least two other probable ones--is that when you get hit on the head a lot, the effect is cumulative, and it takes less of a hit to do the same amount of damage. Nowadays, it seems like my head is a magnet. The other day, I was helping a guy put his wheelchair in the trunk of his car, and the trunk came down right on the top of my skull. I guess the hinge was loose. Anyway, my head spun for a while, but I don't think that was a concussion, because I didn't experience a flash of light. I think that's the telltale sign--I've been hit about six times where I got the flash of light, including the two diagnosed concussions. Only for one of those did I lose consciousness for any noticeable period of time. On the bright side, I can give myself a headache just by thinking about it.
   13. Meatwad Posted: July 08, 2019 at 09:21 PM (#5860136)
If you count by flash of light i think I qould be in the double digits on concussions. Might explain a few things.
   14. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 08, 2019 at 11:37 PM (#5860242)
Cervelli has made $38 mil in his career. good for him. he should be comfortable in his retirement, assuming the concussions haven't taken a serious toll.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 09, 2019 at 10:46 AM (#5860279)
The Pirates have been low-key concerned about Cervelli's concussions for a while now, and I'm glad that he's willing to stop catching and do what's right for the health of his brain.

He's very well-liked by the team, and I can't even begin to imagine that they'd try to file some sort of grievance against him.
   16. Blastin Posted: July 09, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5860307)
I suffered an orbital fracture of the bone above my eye (luckily, nothing moved) christmas 2017 (I tripped and fell down literally one step and hit my face on the curb), and also a slight concussion. I can't imagine suffering six, because that following month was terrible. They gave me anti-psychotics (!!) to be safe, and those put me right to bed. But when I wasn't on those, it hurt with each sharp intake of breath.

Good luck, Frankie.
   17. Master of the Horse Posted: July 09, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5860320)
Cervelli is a good player at a tough position who always seemed to do the smart thing. Not catching seems like the smart thing here. Good luck to him.
   18. Srul Itza Posted: July 09, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5860347)
I would think that point would be way before the 6th concussion.


A separate issue is: How likely is it that this is only his 6th concussion?

We are doing a (somewhat) better job with youth athletics in monitoring that sort of thing, but when Cervelli was playing, was anyone really watching out for it?

And "concussion" is a pretty vague term. It's possible to have a concussion and not realize it, especially if you are young and nobody with expertise is watching. But as noted above, there are issues with cumulative effects.
   19. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 09, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5860418)
How likely is it that this is only his 6th concussion?

If he has had 6 diagnosed concussions, I'd estimate there is at least an 80% chance that he had an undiagnosed 7th. Or more.
   20. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: July 12, 2019 at 09:56 PM (#5861557)
JULY 12: Cervelli now says that he does hope to return to working behind the plate. (Post via Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on Twitter.)

“Saying that I quit from my catcher responsibilities is inaccurate,” he writes. “My hope is to catch again.”
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: July 12, 2019 at 10:08 PM (#5861561)
my hope is that he doesn't
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 15, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5861945)
"Cervelli said the report’s author did not take recorded or written notes and did not make it clear that Cervelli was speaking on the record." - Link

I'm not a big fan of Dejan or how he goes about his business these days, so I could believe it.
   23. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 15, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5861946)
Also, even if it isn't true, it should be. Cervelli doesn't need to get hit in the head any more times.
   24. NotLikely20 Posted: July 16, 2019 at 10:31 AM (#5862195)
...and we've reached the point where doing the right thing isn't easy. He may need the money catching provides, if he hasn't been smart with his money...this could get sad. No doctor worth a damn should allow this man to play catcher, but we all know someone will sign off on it for dubious reasons.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5862257)
...and we've reached the point where doing the right thing isn't easy. He may need the money catching provides, if he hasn't been smart with his money.

He's getting paid $11.5 million this year and is a free agent at the end of the season, so another $5-6 million left on his contract. Even if he blew the $32 million he's already made to date, unless he never paid his taxes and owes the IRS a big check or something like that, he should have more than enough to live comfortably just from the remainder of this year's salary. At least, enough that it wouldn't be worth the risk of trying to catch again for me. Obviously we're all different.
   26. Rusty Priske Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5862259)
And a career send with both (yet another) bang and a whimper.
   27. Master of the Horse Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:53 PM (#5862261)
Cervelli is super engaged in trying to bring relief to his home country of Venezuela and is also involved in other latino countries that have had some kind of bad situation like Puerto Rico and the hurricane. I have not met the guy personally, but what I have been told is that he is really sharp and wants to use his wealth to help people. Don't think that's the profile of someone who has blown everything but maybe so.
   28. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:38 PM (#5862282)
Don't think that's the profile of someone who has blown everything but maybe so.

No but it's admirable and a reason he might want to make as much money as he can while playing (if he's using donating a lot of it to charitable causes in his home country), even if it jeopardizes his long-term health and is not a choice many of us would make.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:51 PM (#5862289)
No but it's admirable and a reason he might want to make as much money as he can while playing (if he's using donating a lot of it to charitable causes in his home country), even if it jeopardizes his long-term health and is not a choice many of us would make.

We also have no idea what his Drs. have told him about the risk. If they've said [Warning: totally made up numbers ahead] "Your concussions have raised your risk of dementia form 10% to 15%, and each additional concussion will add 1-2% more" he may well think $10M is worth an extra point or two of risk.

People make these kinds of health trade-offs all the time in regards to diet, medical treatment, etc. I know people who've declined aggressive chemo, and opted for the most mild kind, because the Drs. said the difference in recurrence rates for their cancer would be low single digit percentages, and that wasn't worth 3 months of horrible sickness, and losing their hair.
   30. phredbird Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5862290)
i was watching last nights cards/pirates game and the stl broadcast crew said that cervelli has changed his mind ...

anyway, that's what they said.

ooops, i did not read the entire thread. duh.
   31. PreservedFish Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:09 PM (#5862296)
He's getting paid $11.5 million this year and is a free agent at the end of the season, so another $5-6 million left on his contract. Even if he blew the $32 million he's already made to date, unless he never paid his taxes and owes the IRS a big check or something like that, he should have more than enough to live comfortably just from the remainder of this year's salary. At least, enough that it wouldn't be worth the risk of trying to catch again for me. Obviously we're all different.


If he's in dire financial straits already - which happens even to millionaires, especially athletes - there's no way he can just press stop on all his debts and obligations and save the remaining X million he has coming to him.
   32. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5862311)

If he's in dire financial straits already - which happens even to millionaires, especially athletes - there's no way he can just press stop on all his debts and obligations and save the remaining X million he has coming to him.

Sure, like I said, it's possible, but I still think it's pretty unlikely in this case and in this market environment that he would be in such dire financial straits that $5-6 million (call it $3 million after tax) wouldn't fix his problems.
   33. PreservedFish Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5862315)
This is a good article, from a decade ago, on the topic of athletes going broke with amazing frequency.

And speaking of market environments, let's not speculate how much of Cervelli's wealth is tied up in Venezuelan assets...
   34. PreservedFish Posted: July 16, 2019 at 03:03 PM (#5862321)
Of course we have no clue and this is now a weird tangent based on baseless speculation. I'm just saying it's plausible that Cervelli reasonably feels that he *needs* the extra money that he can earn as a catcher next year. As an infielder (?) he's just a minor-league contract guy.
   35. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5862336)

Thanks, I'm very familiar with how and why athletes (and rich people of many stripes -- I had a lot of mortgage company clients back in 2006) go broke. But that was an excellent article, I remember it.

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