The Pirates officially announced today they have signed catcher Russell Martin to a two-year contract worth $17 million.
"I feel like this team's got a lot of potential, and I'm excited to take on that challenge," Martin, 29, said in a conference call with reporters.
He said the Pirates made the best offer of any suitor, and that spoke volumes to him.
"It was the best offer that was on the table," Martin said. "Whenever somebody makes the best offer, it's because they want you."
A career .260 hitter, Martin played the last two seasons with the New York Yankees after beginning his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Martin did not speak with former Yankee teammate A.J. Burnett, whom the Pirates acquired in a trade in February, prior to signing with the Pirates. But Burnett texted Martin a couple times, and Martin said reuniting with Burnett was a factor in his decision.
He replaces Rod Barajas, who the Pirates did not bring back, as the team's starting catcher. He hit .211 with a .311 on-base percentage last season with the Yankees. Coincidentally, Barajas replaced Martin as the Dodgers catcher in 2010.
Martin is a three-time All-Star, most recently in 2011 with the Yankees.
Michael Sanserino: email@example.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino First Published November 30, 2012 9:00 PM