In November when the Pittsburgh Pirates lured catcher Russell Martin away from the New York Yankees they made a bold statement, the time to win is now. After 20 losing seasons and two straight years of teasing the Pirates knew they had to make a move to get over that hump. They want Martin to bring over some of that Yankees mojo, the 2012 Yankees mojo not the 2013 version where everyone gets hurt.
Martin’s biggest task will be to take control of the pitching staff. It is a ragtag bunch that will need a steady presence to keep them on track. He will also have to help along younger arms like Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in the very near future.
The Pirates will also need him to come up with some clutch hits like he did last season for the Yankees. Even though his batting average floated around the Mendoza line for much of the year, he was still able to come up with some hits at crucial times. He was patient at the plate and drew 53 walks, which is a great example for some of the young hitters on the Pirates roster.
After fading down the stretch the past two seasons the Pirates were in desperate need of some veteran leadership. Martin is the man they turned to and he needs to recognize when things are starting to go downhill and put the brakes on. If he can do that there is no reason why the Pirates can’t have a winning season or even make the playoffs. When August rolls around we will have a good idea of whether the Piartes chose the right man for the job or not.