Pittsburgh Pirates News: Ryan Lavarnway Signs With The Yankees

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Ryan Lavarnway #63 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates his game-winning RBI single with Josh Harrison #5 during the 11th inning against the Kansas City Royals at PNC Park on September 18, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Ryan Lavarnway #63 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates his game-winning RBI single with Josh Harrison #5 during the 11th inning against the Kansas City Royals at PNC Park on September 18, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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After spending the 2018 season as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization, a veteran catcher is moving on

For much of the 2018 season veteran Ryan Lavarnway and youngster Jacob Stallings split the catching duties for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. This, however, will not be the case in 2019.

Stallings is out of options and can not begin the season in the minor leagues. As for Lavarnway, on Thursday afternoon he signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees.

During the 2018 campaign Lavarnway slashed .288/.375/.485 at the Triple-A level. He posted a .197 ISO, .384 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 145 in 77 games for the Indians. This was Lavarnway’s best season in the minor leagues since 2015.

Lavarnway’s success at the Triple-A level led to him earning a September call-up from the Pirates. While Lavarnway did not start a game in September, his impact was still felt.

In six plate appearances, he hit a pair of singles and a double. This included a walkoff pinch-hit single against the Kansas City Royals on September 18th.

The Yankees will be Lavarnway’s sixth MLB organization. Lavarnway began his pro career with the Red Sox where he was one of the top prospects in the game. But after slashing .201/.249/.315 with a .250 wOBA and a wRC+ of 49 over four seasons with the Red Sox his career in Boston flamed out. Since then, he has bounced around with the Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland A’s, and, of course, the Pirates.

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With Lavarnway having officially moved on to the Yankees, look for the Pirates to be in the market for a veteran catcher. With Stallings out of options, the team will need to figure out the catching situation at Triple-A Indianapolis. There is a good chance that a veteran minor league free agent, which Lavarnway was last season, will be brought in to catch for Indy.