Pirates sign catcher Russell Martin

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed veteran catcher Russell Martin to a two-year contract on Thursday evening.  The deal is worth $17 million over the two-year period and leaves Martin’s former team, the New York Yankees, without a starting catcher for next season.

Martin hit .211 with 21 home runs and 53 RBIs in 2012 to go along with a .311 on-base percentage.  In 2011, he batted .237 with 18 home runs in his first season in New York and, though he strikes out a lot, the seven-year veteran also draws his fair share of walks.

However, according to the New York Daily News, the Yankees did not view Martin as a player worthy of an $8-9 million yearly salary, a belief that ultimately led to his signing with Pittsburgh.

Martin will help stabilize a formerly woeful catching situation for the Pirates, with the team viewing his durability and defensive skills as a plus.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for example, Martin threw out 24 percent of would-be base stealers in 2012, an upgrade from Pirates’ catchers last season.

Martin and backup Michael McKenry will form the catching duo for Pittsburgh next season.

Categories: Baseball