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Pirates sign former Yankees C Russell Martin

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm •  Published: November 29, 2012
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The Pirates were in need of an experienced backstop after declining the club option on Rod Barajas, who struggled in his one season in black-and-gold. Barajas hit .206 with 11 homers in 104 games and struggled defensively, throwing out just 6 percent (6 of 99) potential base stealers.

Backup Mike McKenry fared better but neither have Martin's resume. Martin threw out 25 percent (20 of 83) base stealers last season and committed just six errors in 128 games at catcher, the same total Barajas had in 24 fewer appearances.

The signing is the latest dip into deeper pockets by Pittsburgh, who went 79-83 in 2012, tied for the franchise's best record in the last 20 years. The season was marred by a late fade in which the Pirates fell from playoff contention but the team opted to not make any major changes to the front office and instead focus on upgrading several spots, with catcher being among the top priorities.