The Pirates announced that they have signed free agent catcher Russell Martin to a two-year contract. It is a two-year, $17MM contract, according to David Waldstein of the New York Times (Twitter link). Martin obtains a $2MM signing bonus, a $6.5MM salary in 2013 and an $8.5MM salary in 2014, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Martin, 30, is represented by agent Matt Colleran.
Martin returns to the NL after spending his last two years in New York, hitting .224/.317/.405 with 39 homers during his two years as a Yankee. Those numbers represent an upgrade over the numbers posted by Pirates catchers last season — Rod Barajas has already had his option declined by the Bucs and Michael McKenry now becomes Martin's backup.
The deal represents the most expensive free agent signing of Neal Huntington's tenure as Pittsbugh's general manager, easily topping Clint Barmes' two-year, $10.5MM deal from last winter. It's not often that the Pirates make a big move on the free agent market, let alone outbid the Yankees on a notable player. Heyman tweets that the Yankees' last known offer for Martin was for two years and between $12-$14MM. Heyman reported yesterday that the Bucs and Bronx Bombers were the final two suitors for Martin, with the Mariners and Rangers also showing interest in Martin earlier this winter.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal first reported the agreement (via Twitter). Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.