The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

November 30, 2012

Pirates finalize deal with Martin, release Karstens

PITTSBURGH — Russell Martin is going from a franchise that has won a record 27 World Series titles to a franchise that has endured a record 20 consecutive losing seasons.

Yet Martin, a catcher, said Friday he is excited about joining the Pittsburgh Pirates after finalizing a $17 million, two-year contract as a free agent. Martin spent the last two seasons with the New York Yankees.

“It’s going to be different,” Martin said. “It’s going to be a challenge but I think the Pirates have a young and electric club. There is a lot of talent there and I don’t think we’re as far away as winning as maybe people outside baseball think we are.”

The Pirates are hoping Martin can help get them at least over .500. Their string of losing seasons continued this year when they went from 16 games over .500 at 64-48 on Aug. 8 to a 79-83 finish by losing 35 of their last 50 games.

“There is a lot to like about Russell,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “He handles a pitching staff well, he calls a good game, he throws well, he is capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark. We’re very excited to be able to add him to our club.”

Martin, 29, hit a career-low .211 last season for the Yankees but also finished with a career-best 21 home runs. Rod Barajas, the Pirates’ primary catcher in 2012, batted .206 with 11 homers.

“It wasn’t a very good year,” Martin said, “and I know I’m capable of doing better.”

Martin gets a $2 million signing bonus payable by Dec. 31 and salaries of $6.5 million next season and $8.5 million in 2014.

Part of the allure of coming to Pittsburgh for Martin was having the chance to play for manager Clint Hurdle. The two developed a relationship at the 2008 All-Star game when Hurdle, then with Colorado, was the National League manager, and Martin, then with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was on the NL squad for the game at Yankee Stadium.

“I always liked the way Clint’s teams played when he managed Colorado and I have a lot of respect for him,” Martin said. “I just like being around him and I trust him. I’m looking forward to playing for him.”

In addition to adding power to the lineup, the Pirates are hopeful Martin can strengthen their defense.

Martin threw out 24 percent of runners attempting to steal last season, nailing 20 of 83, while Barajas threw out just 6 percent at 6 of 99. The major-league average was 27 percent.

“Russell has good arm strength and a quick release but we’re going to have to give him help, too,” Huntington said. “Our pitchers have to do a better job of holding runners.”

Right-hander Jeff Karstens was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Martin. Karstens was 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 19 games, including 15 starts, last season while spending time on the disabled list with shoulder and groin injuries.

The signing reunites Martin with right-hander A.J. Burnett. The two played together with the Yankees in 2011 before Burnett was traded to Pittsburgh last February.

Martin was offered a $20 million, three-year deal by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman during spring training and did not accept it. New York did not make him an offseason offer.

“I like Russell Martin,” Cashman said Friday at a charity event in Stamford, Conn. “I’m a big Russell Martin fan. But ultimately we have a lot of holes to fill and we have to be very careful how we spend our money. The market for Russell was aggressive as it should have been and again our focus has been our pitching.”

Orioles get INF Navarro from Pirates: The Baltimore Orioles have acquired infielder Yamaico Navarro from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league pitcher Jhondaniel Medina.

The 25-year-old Navarro hit .160 with one homer and four RBIs in 29 games with Pittsburgh last season. He is a career.279 hitter over seven minor league seasons.

Medina is a 19-year-old right-hander who pitched primarily in the Gulf Coast League in 2011.

To make room for Navarro on the 40-man roster, Baltimore designated right-hander Stu Pomeranz for assignment. Pomeranz had a 3.00 ERA in three games with Baltimore last season.

Also Friday, the Orioles agreed to 2013 contracts with infielder Alexi Casilla, outfielder Steve Pearce and catcher Taylor Teagarden, avoiding arbitration.

A’s get RHP Resop from Pirates for RHP Thornton: The Oakland Athletics have acquired right-hander Chris Resop from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league right-hander Zach Thornton.

The A’s also announced Friday that they will not offer a contract to outfielder Jermaine Mitchell.  A move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Resop will be announced later.

Resop was 1-4 with one save and a 3.91 ERA in 61 relief appearances with Pittsburgh last year. The 30-year-old has spent parts of seven seasons in the majors with Florida, the Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta and Pittsburgh. He has a 9-11 career record with two saves and a 4.51 ERA in 213 games.

Thornton went 4-0 with 16 saves and a 4.53 ERA in 48 relief appearances for Class A Stockton last season. 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads