Catching a break: It’s 1960 all over again as the Pirates beat the Yankees

by Bill Chuck on November 30, 2012

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports was the first to report that the Pirates reached a two-year, $17 million deal with free-agent catcher Russell Martin on a contract. Martin earned $7.5 million last season when he hit .211 with a .713 OPS, 21 home runs and 53 RBI which was still better than the Pirates 2012 catcher Rod Barajas, who hit .206 with 11 homers and threw out six-of-99 potential base stealers.

The Yankees wanted to re-sign Martin, who threw out 20-of-83 base stealers (25%), but either did not want to pay the same money as Pittsburgh or consider Martin too young (he turns 30 in February) since the Yanks have focussed on re-signing Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.

”I want to thank the (at)yankees organization and fans for treating me with class and respect… I will truly miss the city and people of NY,” Martin posted on his Twitter account late Thursday.

Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli and prospect Austin Romine are the Yankees’ remaining catchers. Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski are the top available free agents.

Last season, MLB catchers averaged .248

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
as C 17119 1974 4242 840 37 565 2214 1655 3807 .248 .318 .400 .718
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/30/2012.

Here are the caught stealing records of catchers who appeared in 100+ games in 2012

Tm G SB CS CS% ▾
Ryan Hanigan CIN 110 34 32 48%
Yadier Molina STL 136 38 35 48%
Miguel Montero ARI 139 44 32 42%
Matt Wieters BAL 134 51 32 39%
Carlos Ruiz PHI 106 64 33 34%
A.J. Ellis LAD 131 74 36 33%
Jose Molina TBR 102 39 19 33%
Wilin Rosario COL 105 64 30 32%
Alex Avila DET 113 79 34 30%
Buster Posey SFG 114 87 38 30%
Kurt Suzuki TOT 117 65 28 30%
John Buck MIA 105 48 18 27%
A.J. Pierzynski CHW 126 76 27 26%
Carlos Santana CLE 100 70 25 26%
Russell Martin NYY 128 63 20 24%
Brian McCann ATL 114 76 24 24%
Josh Thole NYM 100 57 17 23%
Jarrod Saltalamacchia BOS 104 80 18 18%
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/30/2012.

Over the last five seasons, Martin has been one of the most durable catchers.

Here are the most games for catchers 2007-2012

Tm G SB CS CS% ▾
1 Brian McCann 814
2 Russell Martin 804
3 A.J. Pierzynski 800
4 Yadier Molina 788
5 Kurt Suzuki 746
6 Carlos Ruiz 706
7 Miguel Olivo 649
8 Miguel Montero 648
9 John Buck 645
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/30/2012.

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