Pirates and Russell Martin agree to two-year, $17 million contract

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UPDATE: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Yankees never made Martin an offer. In fact, they haven’t made an offer to any position players so far this offseason.

8:44 PM: David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that Martin agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal with the Pirates. You could understand if the Yankees balked at a three-year deal at $8.5 million AAV, but it’s surprising that they weren’t willing to match the Pirates for two years.

8:29 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Pirates have reached an agreement with catcher Russell Martin, pending a physical. No word yet on the exact terms, but there was a report earlier this week that they could be willing to give him a three-year deal.

The Yankees were said to be reluctant to go beyond two years for Martin, who batted .211/.311/.403 with 21 homers, 53 RBI and a .713 OPS this past season. The Mariners and Rangers were also mentioned as potential suitors, but it appears the Pirates had the best offer on the table.

Pirates’ catchers combined to hit .218/.300/.392 with 23 home runs and a .692 OPS this past season, most of that from Rod Barajas and Michael McKenry. With his pop and patience, Martin should be able to equal or exceed that level of production. He also figures to be a nice upgrade from a group who threw out a major-league worst eight percent of attempted basestealers in 2012. Martin checked in at 24 percent, which was just around the league average. He also has the reputation as a solid receiver.

If the season started today, the Yankees would have to rely on a combination of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart behind the plate. Of course, it’s very unlikely they’ll end up going that route. The Yankees haven’t been involved for Mike Napoli, but A.J. Pierzynski has been mentioned as a possible fallback to Martin.

White Sox trade Tyler Saladino to the Brewers, acquire Trayce Thompson from the Athletics

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The White Sox made a pair of moves on Thursday evening, trading infielder Tyler Saladino to the Brewers for cash considerations. The club also acquired outfielder Trayce Thompson from the Athletics for cash considerations.

Saladino, 28, took only nine trips to the plate for the White Sox, registering a single and a double. He’s played all over the field, so he offers versatility to the Brewers. Most of his playing time has come in the infield, chiefly at third base, second base, and shortstop.

The Brewers designated pitcher Alec Asher for assignment to create roster space for Saladino.

Thompson, 27, was designated for assignment by the A’s on Tuesday. He came to the plate only seven times, achieving a lone single with four strikeouts.