MLB: Pirates make trade for Yankees' catcher
PITTSBURGH — The Pirates acquired catcher Chris Stewart from the New York Yankees on Monday for a player to be named.
Stewart and the Pirates then agreed to a $1 million, one-year deal.
The 31-year-old Stewart hit .211 with four home runs and 25 RBIs in a career-high 109 games for New York in 2013. He threw out 17 runners, the fifth-highest total in the American League.
To make room for Stewart on the 40-man roster, the Pirates designated catcher Michael McKenry for assignment — they then non-tendered McKenry before the midnight deadline.
McKenry hit .217 in 41 games last season for Pittsburgh before tearing cartilage in his left knee in July.
Stewart will contend with former first-round pick Tony Sanchez as the primary backup to ex-Yankee Russell Martin when spring training opens in February.
Stewart became expendable to the Yankees when they agreed Nov. 23 to an $85 million, five-year contract with Brian McCann, a deal likely to be finalized this week. After making $515,100 this year, Stewart is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time.
Teams faced a midnight deadline to offer 2014 contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters. Pittsburgh chose to let go first baseman Garrett Jones and right-hander Kyle McPherson. Both had been designated for assignment last week, when the Pirates acquired outfielder Jaff Decker and right-hander Miles Mikolas from the Padres.
• Pirates minor league prospect Evan Chambers died in his sleep over the weekend. He was 24.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington had no additional details, but he said in a statement the team was “shocked” and “saddened” by Chambers’ passing.
A third-round draft pick in 2009, Chambers spent five years in the team’s minor league system. The outfielder moved up to Double-A Altoona in 2012. Chambers spent most of the 2013 season dealing with a foot injury and played in just four games for the team’s Gulf Coast League affiliate as part of a rehab assignment.