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Quiet winter meetings for Pirates could change today

| Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, 9:42 a.m.
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli celebrates his solo home run during the sixth inning against the Brewers Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli celebrates his solo home run during the sixth inning against the Brewers Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at PNC Park.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — So far, this has been the dullest winter meetings for the Pirates since, well, last year's winter meetings. That could change in a hurry today.

I'm hearing lots of rumblings that the Pirates were working hard late last night on a significant move. At one point, general manager Neal Huntington sent some of his lieutenants out of the room to focus the conversation.

Over the past 12-14 hours, Francisco Cervelli's name has come up during my conversations with folks in the industry. It would not be a surprise if the Pirates try to move Cervelli, who'll turn 32 in March and has a checkered history of injury problems. This past season, Cervelli played in just 81 games and batted a career-worst .249.

Cervelli has two years left on his contract. He'll make $10.5 million next season and $11.5 million in 2019.

The best catcher on the free-agent market is Jonathan Lucroy, who made $5.25 million this year with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies. Lucroy, 31, played in 123 games (110 as a catcher) and hit a combined .265 with a .716 OPS.

If history is any indication, the Pirates are inclined to make a move today because it coincides with the annual MLB manager's luncheon.

In 2013, the Pirates finalized a contract extension with Charlie Morton during the manager's luncheon. Two years later, the Neil Walker trade was consummated during the manager's luncheon.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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