Catcher Martin agrees to deal with Pirates
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The Pirates agreed to terms with free-agent catcher Russell Martin Thursday night, according to an industry source, filling their void at catcher.
Martin and the Pirates agreed to a two-year, $17 million contract, but Martin needs to pass a physical. Fox Sports and the New York Times first reported the terms of the agreement.
Bringing Martin to Pittsburgh solidified the Pirates' catching situation, which was full of questions after the team declined Rod Barajas' option for 2013.
Michael McKenry likely will be the backup for Martin.
Luring Martin, one of the top free-agent catchers in a shallow market, to Pittsburgh represented a rare occurrence for the Pirates, who generally do not target premium options. The New York Yankees, Martin's former team, also were reportedly interested in his services as were the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners.
Martin, 29, hit .211 with a .311 on-base percentage and 21 home runs for the Yankees last season. He made three All-Star teams, including in 2011, when he hit .237 with 18 home runs.
He has played in at least 125 games in each of the past two seasons.
In '12, Martin threw out 24 percent of potential base-stealers, a major upgrade over catchers last season for the Pirates.
Martin, a right-handed hitter, started his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who drafted him in the 17th round in '02. The Dodgers non-tendered him after the '10 season, when he hit .248 but had only five home runs. Martin signed with the Yankees in December '10. He made $7.5 million last season.
The signing adds another roadblock for catching prospect Tony Sanchez, a first-round draft pick in '09. The Pirates added Sanchez to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
Sanchez hit .251 with eight home runs and a .338 on-base percentage last season when he split time between Class AA and AAA.
First Published November 30, 2012 12:00 am