Bucs deal Resop, Navarro

ResopIn addition to officially signing Russell Martin and deciding on who to tender/non-tender, the Pirates have traded relief pitcher Chris Resop and utility man Yamaico Navarro.

Resop, 30, will be headed to Oakland. With rumors of a Joel Hanrahan trade and increasing interest in Jason Grilli, this trade will further deplete the Bucco bullpen. Although he’s not considered a late-inning/pressure situation reliever, Resop is still a decent option at a cheap price. A lot of fans hated him, for whatever reason. He held down a 3.88 ERA in 159 games for the Bucs over three seasons.

In return, the Pirates will receive RHP Zach Thornton. Thornton, a 24 year old University of Oregon product, was selected in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft. He played High-A ball this year for the Stockton Ports, where he went 4-0 with a 4.53 ERA.

The A’s Twitter accidentally said that they had acquired “Jim Resop”…

Furthermore, the Pirates sent Navarro to Baltimore. He only played 29 games at the big league level last season, and hit just .160. Yamaico performed well at Triple-A Indianapolis, but was arrested for D.U.I. in July.

They will get RHP Jhondaniel Medina in exchange for Navarro. Medina is only 19 years of age, but has been in the O’s organization for three years. He has a career 3.14 ERA in 35 games between the Dominican Summer League, Gulf Coast League, and New York-Penn League.

Go Bucs

Photo: Keith Allison/Creative Commons

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Pirates agree to terms with Russell Martin

According to various sources, the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with free agent catcher Russell Martin. Ken Rosenthal was the first to break the news on Thursday night:

It appears that the contract will be for two years and worth $17 million. The deal should be finalized on Friday.

Here’s a look at Martin’s career offensive numbers:

Year Age Tm G H HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS Awards
2006 23 LAD 121 117 10 65 .282 .355 .436 .792 RoY-9
2007 24 LAD 151 158 19 87 .293 .374 .469 .843 AS,GG,SS
2008 25 LAD 155 155 13 69 .280 .385 .396 .781 AS
2009 26 LAD 143 126 7 53 .250 .352 .329 .680
2010 27 LAD 97 82 5 26 .248 .347 .332 .679
2011 28 NYY 125 99 18 65 .237 .324 .408 .732 AS
2012 29 NYY 133 89 21 53 .211 .311 .403 .713
7 Yrs 925 826 93 418 .260 .352 .399 .751
162 Game Avg. 162 145 16 73 .260 .352 .399 .751

Bill James projects him to hit .242 with 16 home runs next season.

He’s been to the All-Star Game three times, and has also won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He brings experience and leadership to Pittsburgh as well.

While the price tag was a little high, Martin is definitely an upgrade over Barajas. We were skeptical at first, but this excited us a little bit:

This is where each of Martin’s 2012 home runs would have landed at PNC Park. The large left field would be expected to take away some of Martin’s power, but it looks like about 18 of his 21 bombs would have cleared the fences.

He also had an extremely low batting average on balls in play last season, which means that his average might climb a bit. Still, a .211 batting average is concerning and certainly not what the Pirates need.

It was refreshing to hear that Martin was intrigued by Bucs (enough so that he wanted to sign here). Neil Walker mentioned at the end of the year that they needed more veteran leadership, and Martin, who already has seven years under his belt, seems to be a good addition for the clubhouse.

This speaks volumes to the development of Tony Sanchez; is he really that far off? He’s certainly had a disappointing minor league career to date, but he was definitely a candidate to back up Michael McKenry. Plus it’s a two-year deal, so they must not have much faith in him at all. Here’s what Sanchez had to say:

Dejan Kovacevic of the Trib brings up a reasonable point: Russell Martin’s deal could easily turn out to be similar to Matt Morris‘. He says, “It’s far clearer now than it was with Littlefield in 2007 that they’re in huge trouble, hanging by a thread. And right along with it comes a monster deal — by Pittsburgh standards — for a light-hitting catcher on the decline… But let’s not pretend this transaction was anything other than what it was: A desperation move.”

Finally, Neal Huntington has been here in Pittsburgh since 2007. He’s honestly done nothing but lose; plenty of fans want him gone. Has he improved the state of the franchise a bit? Sure – flocks of people went through the turnstiles at PNC last season, season ticket sales are up, and some money is definitely flying in (we’re sure Nutting loves that). NH is fighting for his job… but he’s playing with fire. This signing could be a domino effect for the Bucs – how much more cash do they have to spend? Could Joel Hanrahan‘s career as a Pirate be over? We’ll know soon enough, as the Winter Meetings take place next week. Can’t wait to see how everything unfolds.

Go Bucs

Photo: Keith Allison/Creative Commons

#FTFTrivia Answer 11/29/12

Tonight we asked…

and the answer to tonight’s #FTFTrivia is…

Eight catchers

Those eight catchers were Michael McKenry, Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder, Dusty Brown, Jason Jaramillo, Eric Fryer, Matt Pagnozzi, and Wyatt Toregas. This is significant because the Pirates have just reached an agreement with catcher Russell Martin.

Congratulations to tonight’s winners: @freezoid400, @mjportash, @BMVenslosky, @_DrewBrown, @Irate_Fan7, @TSchusyy, @bmur13, @NuttingHostage, and @s7pinney.

Thanks to all who participated, and tune in next time for another edition of #FTFTrivia.

Go Bucs

Photo: WEBN-TV/Creative Commons

Top Ten Pirates of the PNC Park Era: #7 Aramis Ramirez

Games Hits HR RBI AVG OPS
6 years 559 542 76 316 .263 .747

Before being salary-dumped to the Chicago Cubs, Aramis Ramirez held down the hot corner for the Pirates for six seasons.  His first full season wasn’t until 2001, but it was a big one.  A-Ram slammed 34 homers and knocked in 112 runs while hitting .300 in 158 games.  His tremendous 2001 campaign is the main reason he’s on this list.  He followed up his monster season with a fairly disappointing year, but bounced back in 2003.  He nearly matched his 2002 numbers in the first half of 2003 and was traded, along with Kenny Lofton, to the Cubs in late July.  The Pirates received Bobby Hill, Jose Hernandez, and a minor leaguer in return, which resulted in a very lopsided trade.  A-Ram went on to have a successful stint on the North Side of Chicago and stayed in the NL Central when he signed with the Brewers in 2012.  Ramirez has probably been the best third baseman for the Bucs in the PNC Park era, despite just two full years with the team.  He’s gone on to be one of the more consistent third baggers in the NL, and is still producing at the plate.

Photo: terren in Virginia/Creative Commons

Pirates acquire three; Russell Martin on radar?

Neal Huntington and his staff shuffled the roster a bit today by acquiring three players.

First, they picked up RHP Zach Stewart from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later. Stewart, 26, has a career 6.82 ERA in 33 games.

Next, the Bucs got 1B Clint Robinson and RHP Vin Mazzaro from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Luis Rico and Luis Santos (both minor league pitchers). Robinson, who will turn 28 in February, hit .292 with 13 HR last season for Triple-A Omaha. He’s been blocked in the Royals’ system, mostly by young first baseman Eric Hosmer. Robinson seems to be a decent pickup; his name was brought into discussion last spring when the Bucs lacked offense. The 26 year old Mazzaro had a 5.73 ERA in 44 innings last year for KC. He pitched against the Pirates on June 9th, lasting just three innings and surrendering four runs.

To clear room on the 40 man roster, they designated “The Hit Collector” Matt Hague and Yamaico Navarro for assignment.

Rob Biertempfel of the Trib brought up some good points about these pickups. He writes, “Pirates today made two trades that could figure into plans for who is tendered/non-tendered Friday… Vin Mazzaro could be either back-end starter or long reliever, just like arbitration-eligible Jeff Karstens. Clint Robinson makes it 3′s a crowd at first base with arbitration-eligible Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez.” It’ll be interesting to see how the Bucs handle this. Both Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez should betendered contracts, but you never know. If Jones and Sanchez are on the Opening Day roster, Clint Robinson would most likely be replacing Matt Hague and Jeff Clement as the first baseman at Indianapolis.

In other news, it looks like the club is aggressively pursuing catcher Russell Martin. Jon Heyman wrote that the Bucs are trying to pry him away from the Yankees. Heyman says that the Pirates may be offering around 3 years/$25 million. Many of the people who have weighed in on the situation are not too excited about this deal. Martin hit just .211 last season and his power numbers will most likely decline at PNC Park. Is he an upgrade over Rod Barajas? Yes. Is he worth the money he’s asking for? Probably not.

Biertempfel had this to say - “There’s a sense among some in industry that Pirates will overpay if necessary for a FA this year. Will it be C Russell Martin? Management must show it’s serious about avoiding another second-half breakdown. And the club desperately needs a catcher.”

Ken Rosenthal with a few thoughts:

Go Bucs