Pirates Plan to Extend Qualifying Offer to Russell Martin

According to Jon Heyman, the Pittsburgh Pirates plan to extend a qualifying offer to catcher Russell Martin. The $15.3 M qualifying offer ensures that the Pirates will get a draft pick as compensation if Martin ends up signing elsewhere. While the qualifying offer would represent quite a raise for Martin, he is in line for a multi-year deal in the same range, so it’s highly unlikely he would even consider accepting the offer. Heyman also mentions in the article that the Pirates are serious in their efforts to retain Martin, but he should have plenty of suitors in a weak free agent market for catchers.

  • Brian Nuckols
    October 17, 2014 3:34 pm

    Imagine a Kershaw / Martin battery. Yikes.

  • Smart move by the pirates brass, almost as smart as not giving aj one last year.

    • The non offer to AJ was even smarter. They knew Burnette would have accepted it, and they would have been stuck with him and what he was becoming, along with a $ 14 million + price tag.

  • lonleylibertarian
    October 16, 2014 11:57 pm

    Flipped over to the baseball game after the Pats win – there is some irony – or something in
    Travis Ishikawa winning the game for the Giants…

    A pretty strong argument could be made that the Bucs would have been better off keeping him
    and not trading for Ike Davis – Travis is a good – not great defensive first baseman – Ike is not
    very good. Cheaper and about the same WAR for a full year.

    • That argument would be pure, unadulterated 20/20 hindsight. If you think that makes for a strong argument, you got problems.

      • Totally agree, nobody was saying we needed to keep Ishikawa when he was heading for the door.

      • Hindsight is 20/20, but the Bucs people that are paid to better evaluate talent. In this case then the Pirates have people that are paid to prevent this from happening. The fact that the turnaround happened so fast means they missed the ball on this one.

        • That is about as wrong headed and dopey a statement that could be made regarding that situation. Why do you think the Giants left him at AAA for the biggest part of the season ? To get ready to hit a 3 run homer to win the NLCS ?

          • Are you really that stupid? Yes the Giants sent him to AAA for part of the year, but they saw something in him that they gave him another look. Something someone on the Pirates staff missed. It’s as plain as day. I could see your point if it took him 3 years before he showed value, but he did it in the same year. That would indicate he was close. It’s their job to evaluate talent not just look at his stats. It’s a valid point. I agree with lonley and his point is valid also.

            • Besides a wind blown double and that 3 run HR, what ” value ” did anyone miss in Travis Ishikawa ? If Matheny would have used a left hander, we wouldn’t have even be having this discussion. I’m not even going to take this any further, the entire premise is too ridiculous to even carry on a normal conversation about.

              • you know more than Matheny now.. wow let me bow at your knowledge, again you started the name calling, most people can talk to each other in here without trying to be a tough guy, you and steve paugus do it all the time to people in here

                • What do I do all the time now?

                  • Make snarky comments to people you disagree with or call them names. You seem pretty knowledgeable so it’s really unnecessary.

                    • Snarky or sarcastic? Because there’s a difference. And they’re both tools of rhetoric.

                      My comment history is open for all to see. Please show my where I called anybody a hurtful name.

                    • It’s more snarky…. having a rudely critical tone or manner: ie: insulting everyone’s intelligence by responding with snarky one-liners. There’s really no need for it, I think you could make your case without putting down others To tell lonley he has problems is snarky at best, to say”Not QO’ing Burnett was not a mistake.” is a little sarcastic, but it doesn’t put anyone down.

                    • Snark does not insult everyone’s intelligence. It can be mean-spirited, I’ll grant you that, but it’s still just a rhetorical technique. If you’re the kind of person who takes snarky posts as personally insulting, I’m not sure the internet is a good place to hang out; the line between snark and sarcasm is amorphous at best, and one sees a lot of both. They’re generally meant to make everyone examine the reasoning underlying a shaky argument and not directed at any particular person.

                      Although my post was in response to Lonely, you read a lot into it by reading it as personally insulting. I’m clearly NOT saying he has mental problems, or physical problems, or financial problems, or anything more specific along those lines. Furthermore, someone who thinks 20/20 hindsight is a “pretty strong argument” does indeed have problems– problems understanding persuasive logic and reasoning.

                      You haven’t pointed out any name-calling I did, so I’m gonna assume you’re backing off that unfounded accusation.

                      Bottom Line: I’m not sure why I’m being lectured by the guy whose response to NMR was “Do I have to speak slowly to you?” Seriously: how is that not far more personally insulting than anything I’ve written here? And then when leowalter calls your statement wrong-headed and dopey, you call him personally stupid. And you wanna criticize me? Pot calling the kettle black, if you ask me.

            • You had better be looking in a mirror before you go calling anyone else stupid about that subject.

        • What “turn around” are we talking about again?

          • Do I have to speak slowly for you? Ishikawa obviously turned things around from when he was with the Pirates. If it was all about looking at stats I would have cut him also. He was on the Post season roster so SF thought he turned it around.

      • It might be 20/20 hindsight, but the Pirates have people who are paid to not miss things like this. In the long term it easier to miss things like this, but with his quick turnaround somebody really missed the ball on this one.

    • The only irony I see in that situation is the fact that more than a few commenters here and in other blogs and media did nothing but moan and complain about Ishikawa and other players acquired by the method, known in Pittsburgh mainly, as ” dumpster diving “. And you all know who you are ! Too blind to see that EVERY organization in MLB acquire lesser players for the very same reason the Giants signed Ishikawa after he declared free agency upon his release. Mr. Smizik, who I usually skewer, had an excellent column on that just a day or two ago.

      • The only irony I see is that you don’t need to be an a55 just because you disagree with anybody. Things get missed, I’m not calling for the firing of whoever missed on Ishikawa and who knows if it was just a better fit in SF. It still shows he had something in him. As it turned out he wouldn’t of had the chance to even hit that HR with the Pirates so good for him. IT’s is interesting and ironic that a player that dumpster fodder came through the way he did. You need to chill a little, it’s not like anybody said we would have won the WS if we kept him. lonely just said he would have as good as Ike Davis. If it had my choice I would of rather had Lambo up over either of them the whole year. (I hope you don’t blow a gasket over the Lambo comment)

        • Leo is a curmudgeon and he attempts to boost his self-esteem through the internet by belittling the opinions of others. Take solace in the fact that you’re not him.

  • Considering it’s likely that the Pirates will end up with compensation pick at the end of round 1, what is the value of that pick?

  • They’ve learned from last year’s mistake. Maybe…

    • Not QO’ing Burnett was not a mistake.

    • What mistake was that ? If you mean Burnett, you are mistaken. They didn’t offer a QO because they were afraid he would accept.

      • See, I think they would have been safe offering the QO, just because of the timing. It was early in the off season and A. J. wasn’t certain on retirement or not. My feeling is he would’ve declined just because of how early in the off season it took place. One nice thing that would’ve come from giving him the offer. The situation would’ve been resolved real early instead of dragging on like it did.

        • I would disagree with you ibf, in that he was pretty certain he was going to play, if someone was going to pay,you can bet on it. That is why they weren’t about to offer him. Certainly you are entitled to your opinion, at least you have thought it out , which I never have a problem with when it doesn’t agree with my own idea.

          • I’ve always felt that he was truly uncertain at that point of the off season. But based on them saying they were taking him at his word (Pirates or retire), I would have offered just to get the pick. But if I thought there was a chance he’d accept, then I would not have offered. The only way to know would have been to have been in on the conversations. In the end if they felt he would accept, they did the right thing.

  • I would like to have seen them go after Cruz and stick him at 1st base.

  • Does this mean no qo for liriano

    • I would think so again that there would be a qualifying offer. I think this article just deals with Russel Martin.

    • In an article on Ervin Santana on MLBTR, I read that Buster Olney interviewed some GMs and the feeling is the Pirates will not QO Liriano.

      IMO, that’s insane.

  • If you are talking about Tom Ruiz as possibly a 1 year bridge to Elias Diaz, and you don’t have to give up much but his salary, that might be ok. But for a 35 something catcher, you sure wouldn’t want to give up any highly rated prospect. You would be a lot better off trying to get a David Ross/Ryan Hannigan type.

    • Hannigan would be the perfect type.

      • Love me some hannigan.. is he available?

        • Rick/NMR: Doubt that Hanigan is available – 3 year contract with the Rays for very reasonable numbers. Was injured much of 2014, but he is the real deal. They do not have anyone else other than Jose Molina, and they drafted Nick Ciuffo very high and he struggled mightily at Low A. Cincy gave up his D for more O. Diaz did well at AA and only got a cup of coffee at AAA, but he is doing fairly well in the AFL, and if he shows well there and in ST, he may be the guy to replace Russell Martin and be a placekeeper for about 2 years.

          • Much appreciated. . Though disappointing

          • You had better hope McGuire gets to be more than a singles hitter to be able to get Diaz out of the lineup in 2 to 3 years.

            • I mentioned this in one of the threads last week, but draft ranking aside, how much better does Reese McGuire really project to be than what Diaz did last year in AA? I think you pose an awfully interesting point.

              • Honest question, btw. Not just being rhetorical.

              • Having only seen McGuire for a few minutes in ST, I ‘m not sure myself. But nobody really will make a comparison like that ….out loud. And really NMR, it doesn’t matter. Diaz didn’t do a whole lot offensively till A ball in 2013, so McGuire at 19 has plenty of developmental time to gain some power. All I know is that if he can play better at the AA level than Diaz did this past season, the Pirates, and folks like us, will be ecstatic !

                • Big thumbs up on that last sentence, buddy!

                  I appreciate the answer. And of course you’re absolutely right. At 19, there’s plenty of time for power to come. However you obviously know that certain guys project for more or less even at an age that low, and I just don’t see it in McGuire without a swing change.

                  Kid is pushing 200 lbs already, so its not like his complete lack of power is due to lack of strength. There just isn’t much loft at all in that swing. He could turn into a 240 lb linebacker and it won’t make a difference.

                  And that presents the difficulty with drafting and developing catchers, as I see it. If he played any other position, you can bet right now is when the organization would be focusing on the swing. Before he gets another few thousands reps locked into muscle memory. But as a catcher, you’ve gotta focus on the defense first and foremost.

      • David Ross is another guy like that also NMR.

        • Especially if he has as much intangible value as the orgs he’s played for gush about. On the field, though, I wonder how much of an improvement he’d really be over Chris Stewart.

          • Probably not a heck of a lot, but the fact that you could give them both time without losing any defense would be a plus. I’m not in the ” get rid of Stewart ” camp, obviously. I watched replays last Winter of the 2013 Yankee games last Winter, and I don’t think we actually got to see the best of Stewart’s defensive abilities. He didn’t hit much though, and that is why you see all the NYY fans deriding him. They are clueless too.

            • Hm, now that’s an interesting take. Give both guys time. I mean, it’s not like either would be taking playing time away from any kid with a future until Diaz gets the call, right?

              • That’s the way I see it. You know that no one guy can play them all, and to be honest, as much as I hate to say it, with Tony Sanchez in there, they will be looking at a track meet again. I was hoping he would be next up,but it is getting late in the game for him.

    • ZERO interest in ‘Chooch’ Less than zero even. Seriously.

      • I wouldn’t be interested in him myself, I was just adding a flag or so to that comment.

    • I don’t know if the Pirates are counting on a Diaz 1 year replacement as a bridge, especially with the earnestness that they plan on going after Martin with a 2-3 year contract that they will surely offer him. Diaz has not hit above AA yet, Diaz does not have a long track record of offensive accomplishments. If they offer Martin a 4 year deal, that would indicate to me that they are not as high on Diaz as everyone else is.

      • Why do you think Diaz is in the AFL ? To polish up his game for AAA or a backup spot ? Not only that, why do you think the Pirates are going to make a QO to Martin ? They know darned well what he is and isn’t worth, and he won’t be there next year. I can tell you have never seen Diaz in person. Kevin Plawecki and Blake Swihart have not done much above AA yet either. Does that make them lesser prospects also ?

        • Sanchez is also in the AFL to play catcher. The Pirates do not like to skip steps. NH already said they brought up Palonco too soon. He said there’s a reason you need at bats in AAA.

    • Rene Rivera of SD would be a solid option for a bridge catcher. Good defense, elite framing skills. Not much with the bat, but he can give you .240/.650.

      • Yes, a player like Rivera might be the way to go. I thought I saw somewhere that they might not be in a big hurry to trade him though ( ? )

        • More likely that Grandal – who is also a good framer – would be made available. He hasn’t developed offensively as expected, and he apparently wants out of town. Also there’s that smudge of the PED suspension. With a new GM in town, it’s plausible they dangle him to fill a need (corner OF, 1B, 2B/3B, depending on where Gyorko plays).

          • I think I saw that too S. Not a bad idea either if, IF, they don’t have to sacrifice much with Diaz and McGuire moving along in the system.

  • I really want Russ back, but I honestly wonder what it would take to get Chooch from Philadelphia, and I wonder if we could get pitching in return as well.

  • I guess because Bucs have never offered QO before this will be a story everywhere.
    But the bigger one would be if they didn’t offer it.

  • lonleylibertarian
    October 16, 2014 2:36 pm

    Dodgers will give him McCann type money and years…
    Too pricey for the Bucs – and me…

    • Maybe not, with the new regime, they might be doing business the Pirate/Rays way I have a feeling.

    • I was unaware you were ponying up any dough for any Pirate. You need to open up that wallet for better talent.

    • I think there is very little chance Martin gets anywhere close to $85M…or $75M, for that matter. The Yankees aren’t in the bidding, and now that the Dodgers have Friedman, they are extremely unlikely to overpay in years and dollars. My best guess is a team like the Cubs makes the highest offer at 4/$55-60M.

      • lonleylibertarian
        October 16, 2014 8:54 pm

        I read somewhere the Dodgers would get $250M a year in TV revenues if and when they get their carriage calamity straightened out. Think they already get $100M+ – more than the Bucs project payroll by at least $30M. Friedman has always valued pitch framing from catchers – Ellis is not good – Martin is. If you do some creative things – find a taker for Crawford and/or Eithier [might have to bundle him/then with a Scott Van Slyke and/or a prospect] the future payroll looks a lot better and they have the room for Martin at a McCann like contract level.

        • I know this is the prevailing wisdom, but I’m not buying it. The available revenue and Andrew Friedman’s appreciation for framing really aren’t relevant, because (a) Stan Kasten has let it be known he wants to get the Dodgers at or below the 192 luxury tax, notwithstanding their revenues, and (b) good framer, bad framer, or indifferent framer, Russell Martin is the only starting catcher on the market this year, so whoever wants him will have to shell out some serious cash.

          Friedman is smart, principled, and wasn’t hired to give the most money to the top free agents – Ned Coletti was doing just fine at that job, and Dodger management isn’t crazy about where they are now, which is Yankees west.

          Yeah, he knows all about catcher framing (by now everyone does), but he also knows about catcher aging curves. He knows that framing yields diminishing returns in front of a high-K% pitching staff (and a high swinging strike staff, at that), and that he can get the best framing catcher the stork ever hatched, and it still won’t fix their biggest defensive vulnerability, which is defense at 2B, SS and CF.

          And he knows Matt Wieters will be a free agent this time next year, entering his age-30 season, not his age-32.

          Also, for what it’s worth – I posted this on another thread – in 10 years at the helm, did you know Friedman has never spent more than $2.1M on his starting catcher until he signed Ryan Hanigan to his current extension (which still only pays him $2.75M)? He was willing to spend $7M on James Loney, $6M on Yunel Escobar, $6M on Grant Balfour, $5M on David DeJesus, $3.7M on Matt Joyce – MATT JOYCE! – all average-to-below players, but never once shelled out money for a catcher. So while he might value catcher framing above other catching skills, his actions over 10 years suggest the position is low on his priority list when it comes to splurging.

          I believe that Friedman has a number in his head of what he will pay Russell Martin, and is willing to walk away if the asking price exceeds his perceived value. What that value is, I don’t know. But I would be shocked if he offered Martin 5 years, and mildly surprised if the average annual value exceeds $15M. I think it’s much more likely Martin’s best offer will be 4/$60, and it won’t necessarily come from LA.

        • One more thing – resolving the outfield-payroll dumpster fire they’ve got is going to be easily his toughest task ahead. Crawford is owed $65M and Ethier $56M over the next 3 years. A Scott Van Slyke chaser isn’t going to make that drink any more palatable, they’ll have to throw in a legit prospect like Zach Lee AND eat half the money to make it happen.

          • lonleylibertarian
            October 17, 2014 12:21 am

            I pretty much agree – but they are the Dodgers and can do it. I do think they want to get below the Luxury Tax line – but Friedman also wants to make a statement and have his DNA on the team going forward.

            They can take a big step by not QOing Rameriz – Beckett is retiring – think that is $30M right there.

            SVS is a very valuable asset – years of control [6] and able to play all three outfield and 1st base pretty well and they have a very good/deep farm system.

            I think we will see some surprises from the LA FO.

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