The New York Yankees took a big step toward relieving their logjam at catcher on Monday, Dec. 2, by trading Chris Stewart to the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to the Yanks' official Twitter account.
On Wednesday, Dec. 11, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review revealed the player sent to the Yankees:
P Kyle Haynes is the PTBNL sent to the Yankees to complete the Chris Stewart trade— Travis Sawchik (@Sawchik_Trib) December 11, 2013
Haynes was the Pirates' 20th round pick in the 2012 draft. 9.1 k/9 rate with Low-A West Virginia as a reliever in 2013— Travis Sawchik (@Sawchik_Trib) December 11, 2013
Although Stewart provided a steady veteran presence behind the plate, moving him was a no-brainer from the Yankees' perspective. Not only does New York already have catchers Austin Romine and Francisco Cervelli on the roster, but it also signed former Atlanta Braves backstop Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract last month, per Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
That move signing made Stewart expendable even after he led Yankees catchers in games played this past season.
Stewart's workload came out of necessity due to the fact that Cervelli missed almost the entire season due to injury. Stewart appeared in a career-high 109 games and also set career marks in home runs with four and RBI with 25. Stewart was clearly worn down by the end of the season, however, which contributed heavily to his sub-par .211 batting average.
The 31-year-old Stewart had never played more than 67 games in a season prior to last year, so Yankees manager Joe Girardi may have forced him into biting off more than he could chew.
Although Stewart will no longer be a starter in Pittsburgh, the trade is great from his perspective. He can settle back into a role that he is more comfortable with, and there is also a level of familiarity that comes along with the move to Pittsburgh.
Stewart backed up current Pirates catcher Russell Martin with the Yankees in 2012, so it stands to reason that they have a solid working relationship.
This certainly seems to be a goodwill gesture on the Yankees' part as they have put Stewart in an ideal situation.
Stewart may have been in over his head last season, however, there is no denying the fact that the Pirates have picked up an ideal backup catcher.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter