Russell Martin was once considered one of the brightest young stars in the major leagues, but his bat suddenly stopped producing, with averages of only .237 and .211 the last two seasons with the Yankees. Yesterday, the Pirates and Martin agreed on a two-year contract worth a reported $17million, the most expensive free agent deal in Pirates history. Martin will be a significant upgrade defensively. Last year he threw out 24 percent of attempted base stealers, compared to only 6 percent by last year’s Pirates starter Rod Barrajas. Martin will be inPittsburghtoday to take a physical.
Tonight atmidnightis the deadline for the Pirates to tender contract offers to arbitration-eligible players and unsigned players with one to three years of major league service time. Among those the Pirates must tender or lose to free agency are Neal Walker, James McDonald, Gaby Sanchez, Garrett Jones, Joel Hanrahan, Charlie Morton, Chris Resop, and Jeff Karstens.