Another Yankees’ catcher may soon find himself packing his bags for a move to Pittsburgh. According to a report from Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the two teams match-up well for a possible deal.
Two former Yankees catchers, Russell Martin and Chris Stewart, are now donning the Pirates’ gold and black uniform. Martin left New York for Pittsburgh via free agency after the 2012 season, while Stewart was traded there just this off-season. Both of them had started for the Yankees the year before departing.
With the Bombers being over-stocked with catchers, both in the Major and Minor Leagues, the team could look to acquire one of the three expendable Pirates relievers. These relievers are righties Vin Mazzaro, Bryan Morris, and Jeanmar Gomez.
Mazzaro, 27, had a good season for the Pirates in 2013, posting an ERA of 2.81 and a WHIP of 1.21. Mostly relying on a fastball and slider combination, he held opposing hitters to a .243 batting average against. His fastball, a two-seamer, topped out at 97 with an average velocity of 93 MPH. Mazzaro possesses a hard slider, as it averaged out at 87 MPH.
Another reliever whose Pirates’ days may be numbered is Bryan Morris, who put up decent numbers in 2013. Sporting a 3.46 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP, he managed to keep opponents off the scoreboard using a slider that is thrown at an average speed of 89 MPH, while topping out at 94. His fastball, which is thrown less often than his slider, averages at 94 MPH.
Though it’s unusual for a pitcher to throw more sliders than fastballs over the course of a season, it was effective for Morris, as opponents hit a mere .238 against him.
The least likely Pirates reliever to be traded (according to Davidoff) is 26-year-old Jeanmar Gomez, as he can also start. In 34 games (8 starts) in 2013, he posted a solid ERA of 3.35, a WHIP of 1.15, and a batting average against of .215. He relies mostly on a sinker and an occasional slider.
All three pitchers had a ground-ball percentage above fifty.
The Pirates will likely have to choose from a Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, and John Ryan Murphy. All three spent time with the Yankees in 2013 and are vying for a roster spot to back-up Brian McCann.