Report: Martin to the Pirates

Moments ago Ken Rosenthal tweeted:

#Pirates reach agreement with Catcher Russell Martin, pending physical. #MLB


Yes, it was a possibility. Reports were hinting toward that outcome but when was the last time the Pirates outbid the Yankees for a player? It’s been a while, if it’s happened at all. And I’m pretty sure the Yankees were left scratching their heads over this decision by Martin.

So who is left for the Yankees to pursue? Mike Napoli? A.J. Pierzynski? And, no, Francisco Cervelli will not be a starting catcher so don’t even suggest it.

The scenarios presented because of this news are actually kind of frightening.

UPDATE: According to multiple reports, it was a two-year/$17M deal. The Yankees offered two years/$14M according to Jon Heyman.

Really? They couldn’t sign him for $3M more?

Thank goodness it’s only November.

And yet another update: The deal was three years/$24M and reports are coming out that the Yankees hadn’t even presented Martin with an offer.

We’ll have a more in depth recap tomorrow on this and on Mo’s deal as well.

About Stacey Gotsulias

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money and co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast.

32 thoughts on “Report: Martin to the Pirates

  1. There's no excuse for that one… they lost him to the Pirates for 2 years $17M? I think even the people against signing Martin gotta agree that's kinda ridiculous.

    • Sorry but I don't think it's ridiculous. Personally I got very tired of watching his pathetic offense performance from April through August. I wish him luck but in my opinion it was time for the Yankees to move on from Martin. If 2013 has to become a bridge year for the Yankees at that position so be it, but I do think the Yankees will find someone and manage perfectly well without him. Just my opinion.

    • I don't think he was a fabulous player but he was definitely a good clubhouse influence and more than able to handle the staff. When is this fiscal austerity crap going to stop?

  2. I think if anything the Yankees will work on a trade rather then go with either Napoli or A.J. There is also the option to sign one of the other catchers that had a down year like: Yorvit Torrealba for a year and see if he can capture his 2010 and/or 2011 performance. They also I'm sure give Romine a good look in spring training to see how his back is and maybe work him into the line up.

      • How did baseball ever survive without "sabermatrics"? Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. I wonder what sabermetrics said about Bartolo Colon just prior to the Yankees and Cashman signing him in 2011.

        • That a big market team with lots of money giving someone a non-guaranteed minor league contract and a ST invite is *never* a bad idea?

          • Brien, I think you missed my point in the comment. Even that and even though Colon had a good spring training that year. His previous 4 or 5 year history did not bode well for the Yankees bringing him north on a Major League deal. All I was trying to say is sabermetrics is not the end all as to who a team should or should be looking at to sign.

          • My friend, I have a very difficult time believing that for the 2011 season there were no better options then Bartolo Colon. Now whether or not the Yankees chose to avail themselves of those options is a completely different story.

          • To be clear, I meant a better option at the end of Spring Training. Obviously not in, say, January, but then the Yankees likely never planned on Colon getting anything but a look in camp, and that was done as a courtesy to Tony Pena, as I recall.

        • but Colón, when healthy, was a very good pitcher. He had a successful track record. Torrealba has never been a good enough to be a starting catcher, except maybe for 2010, and that's an outlier.

  3. Not a fan of Martin, but he would've been worth 2/$18M for his age 30 and 31 seasons… especially when he can play 120+ games per season. Didn't particularly want to see him back, but to hear that he got poached on a two year deal? Maybe he really likes AJ…

  4. I'm having a hard time being upset by this, yet at the same time, if it was only a 2 year deal, it's a shame the Yanks couldn't have at least matched the Pirates' offer. Yeah, I'm betwixt and between on this.

    Wishing him well nonetheless.

    • No, he had a horrible first 100 games or so. He finished the season with a 95 wRC+ which, while not awesome, is a touch below average for *all* American League hitters. Mix in good health and his work behind the plate and that's not at all horrible. Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart are horrible.

  5. Easily replaced with whom? An untested rookie (Austin Romine)? A selection of fine backups (Cervelli, Stewart, Whiteside)? An elderly free agent (Pierzynski)? A DH who catches (Napoli)? Unless Romine is the second coming of Thurman Munson, methinks we got a problem here. But let's see what happens in Nashville.

  6. I don't get why Romine's name is even in the conversation. He's not at all ready for the big leagues, even without accounting for the injury factor. If the options are strictly in house, it's Cervelli and Stewart right now. Period.

    • Romine's name is in the conversation because Martin is now gone and people aren't happy with the idea of Cervelli and Stewart. Yet you are correct. Romine is not ready. All of this confirms why letting a solid MLB catcher leave when the team doesn't have a replacement is perplexing.

  7. Admittedly I am a huge fan of Russell so I'm very biased but I could not be more upset right now. Russell was without a doubt the best (and more or less only) legitimate option at catcher for the Yanks next year and they let him get away. He's familiar with the pitching staff and is great defensively. So what if he's not great with a bat? He's a catcher! The Yanks have been so spoiled with great hitting catchers that all of a sudden everybody expects unreasonable production from the position. And Russell with Muscle isn't that bad at all with the lumber anyway! I commented a lot this past season about how it seemed like he was having a very unlucky year at the plate and somebody (William I think) wrote a column about it. All of his peripherals were pretty consistent with previous seasons yet his BABIP was absurdly low. To me at least he never really looked lost at the plate he always looked like he was taking good swings (unlike Grandy). I'm sure most of you probably disagree with just about everything I'm saying but unless Cashman and co can pull a rabbit out of a hat I think this is going to prove to be an enormous mistake.

  8. Because the finances seem reasonable, it looks bad. But the Yankees must have something cooking. Trade perhaps, or some word from around the league that a solid catcher will be non-tendered tomorrow, a la Martin 2 years ago.

  9. I think Cashman and co have earned the right for us to trust what they have done without assuming they will do nothing to make the team better. They have proven over the last coupleof years that even when they do make mistakes that hamper the team in one area, they are more than capable of making up for those mistakes. If for instance they sign Ichiro back, that would mean they let Swisher and Martin go, but managed to bring back Pettite, Mo, Hirok and Ichiro… I would take that every day of the week heading into next season. And if anyone here truly believes they will not make a serious move to get better a the catching position during the rest of the off-season I don’t think you’ve been paying attention. I can see a big trade to get a catcher that involves Granderson and then them re-signing Swisher after he realizes he will miss NY and isn’t going to get the offers he hoped he would on the open market. I think it’s fun to speculate about things like this but to assume Cashman will do nothing else and sit here complaining about letting Martin go is a little bit silly IMO. Until we see the roster that is one the field for opening day it’s not truly fair to judge this move by the Yankees. I, for one, have faith that Cashman will get the best team he can on the field and a lot of this angst will dissipate before a single game is played.

  10. I think NY was surprised by this one. There is really no other way to explain it. Martin is a very good sign at an 8M annual value (assuming the 3/24). NY couldn't beat this? I think they could and would have. I will be interested to read about his reasoning for this – did he fell NY didn't appreciate him?

    While some people don't like sabermetrics, they clearly indicate that Martin was a bargain while in NY, and he will in all probability be a bargain for Pittsburgh. One thing that makes me wonder is that he settled so early, and to go to a bad team. More here than meets the eye I think..

    • Actually all the reports now are that he signed for 2 years / $17MM. Also all the reports are that Cashman told Martin the Yankees didn't have the money to match the Pirates offer. Which tells me they were aware of the offer and just chose not to match it. So they weren't surprised. Finally where he signed and whey he signed for just 2 years tells me something also. It tells me that none of the other teams that were linked to him so far this winter aside from the Yankees thought he was worth more then that. It also tells me that Martin himself didn't think he could get more then that since it was reported he was looking for a 4 year deal. and had to settle for 2 years. Just my opinion but I believe if Martin thought there was more years and money still out there for him he would have at least waited until the winter meeting were in full swing.

  11. I'm surprised they wouldn't match the offer for two years. But I think Martin is a bit overrated. Hopefully they can get someone good to catch. I'd love Napoli if the price is right.

  12. I'll post my two cents. Letting Russell Martin walk was a mistake that will weaken the team. He was a good value (h/t Laz) at $9 million per season accounting for framing skills, etc. This one hurts.

  13. If its three years, and not two – I can live with letting him walk.

    Maybe Cash can work another trade with Seattle – swap that Pineda guy for Montero maybe? That's the only way I can see to guarantee Pineda comes close to being a Cy Young candidate.