Pittsburgh Pirates: Assessing the Best Free Agent Signings of the Past 25 Years

Which GM has the best track record of attracting talent to Pittsburgh?
Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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Russell Martin (Nov. 2012, 2 years, $17 million)

Of all of Huntington’s moves, this signing provided the most immediate and long-term value, although that future payoff took some time to develop. In the short-term, Martin provided two years of solid offensive and defensive value. His two homers rallied the Pirates past the Reds in the 2013 National League Wild Card Game, and he led both the 2013 and 2014 teams in defensive WAR.

Pittsburgh tried to retain Martin’s services for 2015 and beyond, issuing him a qualifying offer. Martin turned down the one-year, $15.3 million contract and took his talents to Toronto. While it seemed at the time that the Pirates lost a high-impact player for no immediate return, the qualifying offer allowed Pittsburgh to gain a second first-round pick in the 2015 Draft. Those two picks? Kevin Newman and Ke’Bryan Hayes.