After signing Russell Martin to a two-year deal in the offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates bought themselves time to sort out their future plans. Martin has been a stalwart behind the plate this season, and he is a real asset in managing the pitching staff. While his backup Michael McKenry is plagued by an inability to control the running game – with little help from the starters – Martin has managed the base paths better than his recent predecessors.
The Pirates have been linked to many catchers in the 2013 Rule 4 Draft, but obviously their draftee would be a few years away from seeing action behind a major league dish. Without a logical replacement in the minor leagues, the Pirates seem likely to stick with veteran free agent options, after Martin’s contract is over. However, it would be prudent to begin developing a new young catcher – if the organization has actually given up on Tony Sanchez.
Teams infrequently draft for major league needs in the early rounds, opting for the best talent available. However, the Pirates have gaping holes at catcher and shortstop. They will likely target one or both of these positions, even if the players don’t appear for many years. The Pirates have had much greater success developing pitchers, rather than hitters, so this is not a surprise. The Pirates may just be better off going year-to-year with veteran options, and focusing on developing players that they can succeed with.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.