The New York Yankees traded catcher Chris Stewart to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later. This is the best possible scenario for the Yanks, because they were going to non-tender him before the deadline tonight, and would have ended up getting nothing for his departure.
This is the second offseason in a row that a Yankees catcher has moved to Pittsburgh, with Russell Martin signing with them last year and leaving a void in the Yanks’ lineup behind the plate. Stewart started the majority of the games at catcher in 2013, and was an offensive liability to say the least. He batted .211 with four home runs and 25 RBIs in 340 plate appearances — not exactly a juggernaut with the bat.
It was a foregone conclusion that Stewart would leave New York once the Yanks signed seven-time All-Star backstop Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal on November 23rd. The backup catcher will now be Austin Romine, a homegrown talent that once was thought to be the future of the organization behind the plate, but he hasn’t panned out as of yet to be the everyday guy.
Stewart was a good game-caller, but his offensive deficiencies were too much of a detriment to the team, so this move was inevitable. He will now be a serviceable backup for the Bucs, and Yankees fans will not have to cringe when he’s on deck in a crucial situation. The trade works for both sides, with the Yanks most likely getting a low-level prospect and being able to let Romine learn behind one of the best backstops in all of baseball.