Cubs Will Target Russell Martin

The Chicago Cubs will target free agent catcher Russell Martin, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Martin has been predicted to land with the Cubs on a few free agent lists, with one of them being the MLBTR predictions. The Cubs have a lot of money to spend, a young offense, and will need pitching and catching. Heyman says they could also target one of the top free agent starters.

Heyman also notes that the Dodgers are expected to be a player for Martin, and that the Pirates seem intent on “giving it their best shot” to try and retain the catcher. Heyman says that Martin is believed to be seeking a five year deal, and points out that Brian McCann ($85 M), Yadier Molina ($75 M), and Miguel Montero ($60 M) all received five year deals. With the Cubs and Dodgers involved, and Martin seeking five years, it might be very difficult for the Pirates to bring back their starting catcher.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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I’m worry to see Martin go, but I don’t want any part of a 5 year contract in baseball for a guy that old. I know this is not the popular view, but I want to see what Sanchez can do full time. He can hit and maybe the fact that everyone wrote him off will overcome the yips. I like the kid.


I’d like to see what sanchez can do as well.. the kid has been thru a lot and it seems he has shown a complete game.. just pieces in spirts and not all at one time.. maybe he’ll seize the opportunity and put it all together. . If not then stewie it is..


Please no, not the Cubs! I don’t want to see Martin against us 18 times a year!


More like 10 times a year, since he’s in his 30s and will be lucky to catch 100 games per season. Plus, we know him so well, we should get him out easily. Just like Aramis Ramirez. Oh…nevermind.


LOL that was good!

John Janesko

So if the Cubs get Martin, any chance of going after Wellington Castillo? Above average defender, much better bat than Stewart. I really feel like Sanchez can be about league average however

Lukas Sutton

Id inquire with Rick Renteria before trading for Castillo and ask if they thought his pitchers oddly high ERA when he was catching as opposed to the backup was mostly SSS or if they had questions about how Castillo handles pitchers. If my memory serves me well Cubs pitchers had a 4 something ERA with Castillo and mid 3 with the backup. Surely SSS but still something to ponder.

William Wallace

I think we could talk Sangy into give us one good year then hope Sanchez will be able to chug 4 beers at one time for the future.


I hope he ends up a cubbie for the next 5 years.


yeah, Catchers decline very rapidly. The wear and tear is real. I truly wish the Pirates could keep martin for 2 more seasons. However, I also secretly hope that a team like the cubs take him for a big 5 year deal and end up eating it.


I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea that the Pirates might actually start 2015 with only Tony Sanchez and Chris Stewart. That’s not actually going to happen, is it?

I keep (half-jokingly and half-seriously) mentioning Geovany Soto only because I have a weird feeling that he ends up in the Pirates camp somehow (though my image of Soto is still of him during his rookie year with the Cubs, where he was awesome, and I figured he’d be a Pirates annoyance for the next decade) instead of what he became every season since then (though his never-ending injuries may be keeping us from seeing what he’s capable of).

But, I have to assume that the Pirates are going to bring in SOMEBODY!


Stewart and T.Sanchez could be endurable as a temporary bridge to Diaz.


BTW, Soto has a lifetime .995 OPS against the Pirates in 58 games!!! And a 1.109 lifetime OPS in PNC Park!!! (Okay, I’ll stop now, haha!)


Reclamation catcher to go with a reclamation pitcher??? (playing along!)

John Lease

Funny that the Cubs would target only the 4th best catcher in the division, according to some posters here. They must be drunk with power.


Admititly it is only one year – so some slippage might happen, but who would you rather have for the next few years, a 26 year old with HR power who can’t become a free agent until 2018 – so he will likely cost something like $10M in TOTAL for the next three years if he continue to produce at his current level. Or would you rather tie up $15M+/yr in an age 32 catcher who will start 120 games or less based on his last few years.


Lonley I look forward to reading your comments cause they shed lite to the other side.. I’m not suppose to agree with your comment

Lukas Sutton

You can debate on who is 3rd and 4th, but there is really no doubt that Martin is not top 2 in the division at this moment. Lucroy had an insane year, and even before that was a consistent mid 3 WAR player. It isnt a slight against Martin, the division is just stacked. Cubs are drunk with money and willing to give a bad contract due to having wonderful amounts of rookie contracts.


I would actually prefer both molina and lucroy over martin.. i thought the same thing going into last year as well.. saying martin is third in the division isn’t saying I don’t value him though?

Tim Goetz

If Liriano and Martin both land us picks at the end of the 1st round, what are the chances we package them for a SP? What kind of player could we land for those picks?


Unless I’m mistaken the only draft picks that can be traded are the competitive balance picks that are given through a lottery (e.g. like we did in the gaby deal) I don’t believe these picks can be traded. I may be wrong though.

Tim Goetz

I wasn’t sure if they could be traded

Paul Krzywicki

I am a big Russell Martin fan. That being said, there is no way our Bucs can extend the payroll like that. It’s extremely likely that Martin’s contract ends up being an albatross for the final 2 seasons. If that happened, it would cripple small market teams like the Pirates.

John Lease

Oh, they could extend it. They just won’t. And exactly how crippled are the Reds? That small market crap is played out.

Lukas Sutton

Yeah, if only we were the Reds. It’d be great to have given out 2-3 crippling contracts that will end with us losing our best SP and get stuck with an aging 2Bmen and inconsistent SP. Its also neat how small market gets thrown around while ignoring things like ticket prices, which are vastly different for CIN and PIT. When you are cool with paying what 75% of baseball fans pay, then you can complain the team is cheap. Pirate ticket prices should be rejoiced by fans for being shockingly affordable comparatively.


How crippled are the Reds you ask? Well, they sure wish they hadn’t given Votto the moon a few years back about now and they soon won’t have the $$$ to resign Cueto. The Reds are not in the greatest of situations.


The question isn’t whether they could or couldn’t. The question should always be whether it’s a good idea to spend this kinda money in this kinda way.


Will the Pirate receive a compensation pick if Cubs sign Martin? I thought that the top 10 picks are exempt for comp picks.


Marcorincon is right – even if the Cubs sign Martin they won’t lose their first round pick because it is protected – they would lose their 2d round pick (or any sandwich pick they might have) if they sign only one free agent who received a qualifying offer. Viewed another way, there is not a mirror image between what happens to the team losing the free agent and the team gaining the free agent.


Yes, the Bucs will get a comp pick if Martin signs elsewhere regardless of what team. The picks are supplemental. We don’t get the Cubs 1st round slot per se.


If he can’t be signed, upgrade the offense elsewhere and go for defense behind the plate with Stewart and spend the money on pitching.


5 Friggin’ years for a 31 yo catcher?! I loved me some Russell Martin these past two seasons but there’s no way the Bucs FO can be in that kind of discussion if they are rational about it. I thought Russ would be a Cub, we’ll see….

Jonathan Holbert

At least we will get a nice juicy draft pick

Nate James

Tim, what are the odds that the Pirates look at Montero if Martin signs elsewhere?


Montero’s framing was elite last year but effectively average the two prior years, he is below average at all of the other defensive categories, and most importantly his power seems to have gone. He was worth something like 2.0 Wins over 1000 PAs the last two seasons, you would have to hope there is something fixable in his swing to take on $38 million in guaranteed money.


Montero was the one that gave the middle finger to have McCutchen hit in that game.

Nate James

Oh really? I didn’t realize that is the reason we wouldn’t look at an above average defensive catcher who has hit very well in the past. Man….

Lukas Sutton

Yeah, who would care that the best player on the team would likely be very upset that the team brings in a guy that intentionally called for one in the upper back. Im sure that wouldnt cause any problems at all….


He would be a case of hate him if he is against you love him if he is for you…..Kasparaitis, Cooke, etc.


With the scarce amount of starting catchers available, it’s going to take a big. haul to get him

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