According to Buster Olney, the Pittsburgh Pirates are close to acquiring New York Yankees catcher Chris Stewart.
The Pirates are on the verge of acquiring catcher Chris Stewart from the Yankees.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 2, 2013
Stewart is a 31 year old catcher and is arbitration eligible for the first time this off-season. He doesn’t do much with the bat, hitting for a career .214/.287/.288 line in 645 career major league at-bats. If the transaction goes through, then this should mean the end of Michael McKenry, who is also arbitration eligible.
CBS Sports released a chart a few days ago listing the best pitch framers in 2013. Stewart ranked number two with 22.7 RAA. That was higher than Yadier Molina (19.8) and Russell Martin (17.9). So while the offense is bad for Stewart, the defense is stronger than what McKenry can provide. Stewart is out of options, which means he will probably get the backup catching job over Tony Sanchez, moving Sanchez to Triple-A to start the 2014 season.
UPDATE 9:44 AM: Jon Heyman reports that the Pirates will send cash or a player to be named later for Stewart.
#pirates will send $ or player to be named to yanks in chris stewart deal being discussed. Olney mentioned 1st.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 2, 2013
UPDATE 10:22 AM: The Pirates officially announce the move as Stewart for a player to be named. They have designated Michael McKenry for assignment to make room for Stewart on the 40-man roster.
UPDATE 10:32 AM: To go with today’s non-tender deadline article, Stewart is projected by MLBTR to make $1 M in arbitration, and after this trade I would say it’s a guarantee he gets tendered.
UPDATE 10:45 AM: The deal for Stewart was agreed to on Friday, according to Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal.
Deal that sent Chris Stewart to Pirates agreed to Friday, but was contingent on Stewart agreeing to new contract w/ Pitt. worked out today.
— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) December 2, 2013
Since the deal is final, that means the Pirates have a deal with Stewart for 2014. No word yet on the terms of the deal.