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Catcher Russell Martin Signs with Pittsburgh; Leaves Hole at Backstop for New York Yankees

November 30th, 2012 at 9:17 AM
By Karen Vankat

The New York Yankees have addressed their pitching concerns, but now they need a new backstop with Russell Martin signing a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

'Russell Martin' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license:

According to Jon Heyman of, New York offered Martin a two-year deal between $12-$14 million and the Pirates bumped their offer for the same amount of years to $17 million.

Martin will reunite with pitcher A.J. Burnett, both played for the Yankees during the 2011 season.

Despite the horrendous year at the plate (.211) the Yankees liked Martin a lot especially the way he handled the pitching staff, threw out runners and ran the bases.

"I want to thank the @yankees organization and fans for treating me with class and respect… I will truly miss the city and people of NY,"  tweeted Russell Martin on Thursday night.

Now New York must look elsewhere for a starting catcher in a very thin free agent market. A.J. Pierzynski and Mike Napoli are the two biggest names. Currently on the roster the Yankees have last year's backup Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine.

Stewart and Cervelli are considered back-ups and Romine was projected as a starter at one time, but those expectations have been lowered because Austin has had consecutive years of back issues.

The Yankees No. 1 prospect in the organization is 19 year old catcher Gary Sanchez who is not ready yet for the Major Leagues having played only at the A-ball level.

Pierzynski seems the favorite considering his swing is made for Yankee Stadium and his defense is better then Napoli's.

The Winter Meetings start in Nashville, Tennessee this week and the Yankees concerns will center on catcher and right field, the two positions considered still influx for New York.


Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, Baseball, Brian Cashman, Mike Napoli, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, Russell Martin

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