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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Russell Martin Meets With the Cubs, Talking to Four Teams

Bruce Levine reports that Russell Martin met with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, and that the catcher is talking with four clubs.

Earlier in the week we heard that the Cubs would be going after Martin. The Pirates are probably one of the four clubs Levine mentions. I’m not sure who the other two are, although I’d guess one of them is the Dodgers. Martin still hasn’t officially declined his qualifying offer, although I think that’s inevitable at this point.

UPDATE 11:48 AM: Levine writes that the Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Pirates are the other three teams that Martin and his agent will meet with.

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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 saw the Astros make an agressive move for a plus defensive young catcher with some offensive upside. It cost them two marginal prospects. Even though i believe the Bucs are going to make a legit run at Martin , I fully expect some big market to go over the top and over pay . Maybe we should be open to a similar get to Houston. I would have felt good about acquiring Conger for similar prospects , even if Martin returns,


The Cubs talking with Martin in the first few hours is a bit intimidating. I am sure the Bucs would appreciate the opportunity to meet with him last. If the Cubs offer 5 years at $15+mill per , it wont matter when Pittsburgh sits down with him…. And Chicago knows it, throw the Bucs a knock out shot in hour one of free agency. LONG LIVE THE GOAT! !


I think these are just preliminary discussions. I expect Martin to talk seriously to more than 4 teams since he is easily the best catcher available.

Lukas Sutton

That isnt really how nearly all big time FA searches go. Sure, any team would want him. But about 1/4th of all teams cant afford him due to already near max salary issues/needs elsewhere/they suck so bad it makes no sense. Add in another 5-10 teams that have their C spot already figured out. Doesnt leave more than 3-5 teams that have the need+cap room+flexibility to make the deal. Cubs and Dodgers will scare off a few (IMO the Blue Jays) and it’ll be a 3 team race with the Pirates.


I cant imagine a Texas for example , isnt lying in the weeds with an unreasonable offer that cannot be refused. Hell , the Yankees can DH Tex , move McCann to first and give $80 mill to Martin.. Sadly , i can only be half kidding. That is how the Yankees cut costs.

Lukas Sutton

Even if Texas does jump in, one team always falls out as the process unfolds. CHC and TEX make large offers, PIT or LAD drops out and its 2-3 teams making final offers that are considered. There is almost never a player that sees 4-5 teams make offers that are good enough to get it done. Martin is likely to see 2 (maybe 3) teams make big offers and PIT make a reasonable offer that isnt as dumb as the others.


I think my point is always lost on this… Let’s give our organization the credit it deserves. That our 40 man is about the cost of The left side of the Yankee infield. It’s winning baseball , its winning business and true commitment


I have said before , Raising your children to be Pirate fans is a chance to tech tough life lessens as well as values. Life isnt fair. Yet we must learn to persevere in the face of adversity. Again , these are realities of baseball and there in lies the best lessen. I don’t resent the big markets. They are like big fat over indulgent pigs… and yet The Pitt , Oak and Tampa’s of the world succeed. Being responsible and staying committed to a game plan , even if only if forced by budget , can be sexy. You can’t buy happiness and ya can’t buy wins.


What i do resent ,however , is that if Russ Martin wanted to take 30% less to return to Pittsburgh then a bigger market , his labor union simply would not allow it.


not that you come from a negative space or anything:

I cant imagine a Texas for example , isnt lying in the weeds with an unreasonable offer that cannot be refused.


LOL.. Not at all. I’m a realist. A week before FA begins , all the insiders are convinced that the market will be modest , that ALL the big market teams are practicing fiscal sense and control… But like clockwork the inevitable $160 mill to Ellsbury a midst NY’s cost cutting. Now consider Russ Martin is the only viable option at a premium position where a half dozen big markets have need. The great thing about the Bucs…. They will pursue Martin, within reason , even a bit beyond it. In the end they will get as close the same defensive production as possible , with the guy already on the roster , bat him 8 and allocate half the remaining dollars to add even more offensive production elsewhere on the diamond. So apologies for sounding negative… I fully expect to be Buc’n in October !

Lukas Sutton

More as a joke, but i have never heard someone refer to themself as a realist that wasnt really a pessimist (nothing wrong with that, i am in some aspects) rationalizing it.


Surprised the Red Sox are not in the mix – they have the $$$ and can make use of Martin as a DH at times if he continues his offensive numbers. Their first round pick is also protected.


They have a couple of young catchers with potential. Vazquez is already in the majors with Swihart at AA. From what I read the other day, Swihart is perhaps the more talented of the two. He is Boston’s #2 prospect according to MLB.

Lukas Sutton

For BOS, a 3-4 year deal would be expensive (not the biggest concern) but block those talented catcher. Swihart is looking like a very solid young player that may be the best at his position in all of minor league baseball. They likely dread seeing Swihart be ready in another year with 2-3 years left of Martin and Martin likely being a very poor value at DH.

John Janesko

I wonder if the Pirates match any deal, if he would return. Like say 4 years, 60 million gets offered by Dodgers and Pirates, I wonder if the Pirates would have to outbid them. Just a thought.


I dont believe where he’d like to be isthe issue facing us. If it comes to 4 years, $60 , I think he wears Black and Gold the rest of his days. The threat is an L.A or Chicago big boy-ing us with 5 or more years at that figure or even higher. For equal dollars at 35 yrs old I would much rather Russ Martin than McCann… By the end of this i am afraid these big markets will lose all objectivity and pay our all star like a HOF.


I think it is totally reasonable to expect favor , all things being equal , if we match any dollar amount. Especially if its L.A. , who counted him out a career ago , or Pittsburgh where his last at bat in a blow out playoff loss he gets a standing O.


If winning is really important to him, then I don’t think the Jays are a huge threat despite his being a Canuck. The Cubs have the potential to win, but he’ll need to be sold on that potential. And if he doesn’t like playing in front of dispassionate fans, then the Dodgers will be out too. OK. OK. I’m being very optimistic.


Hmm? The Cubs are about to become the Red Sox–unbearable fans and all.


Obnoxious cry baby fans with over the top accents and soon to be matching budgets approaching $200mill… As if that isnt enough , the N.L Central is the new A.L East. ..Long Live the Goat ! !

Lukas Sutton

Tough to call Cubs fans cry baby fans, unless you just hate them to hate them. Not much for the Cubs to cry over for awhile. Most just seem happy to be around and ever hopeful they see a winning team.


Idk , Ask Steve Bartman. What he did was dumb , But the Cubs still needed to blow a late game lead and the series. Overall though, I suppose you’re right. Though , the city of Pittsburgh sets the standard for class and losing with dignity.

Lukas Sutton

Uh, sure. Pirate fans do a decent job of losing and being gracious about it (years of practice does wonders! lol) but Steelers fans can get on the same level as every fanbase, petty and childish after losing big games.


The NFL thrives as MLB withers. The very same city has accepted that they have a fair shake in one sport and the other is a step child. It is ironic that they cry about the ultra successful Steelers but threat the Buc’s like the bad news bears and wanna give everyone a trophy for participating.

The Bald Truth

This may be a dumb question, but if the Cubs first round pick is protected does that mean the Pirates would only get a second rounder if he signed with them? I’m guessing that’s the case, though it seems a bit unfair to the team losing the FA.


They don’t get the other teams pick. They get a pick between rounds 1 and 2.

The Bald Truth

I got that the team extending the QO didn’t actually get the other team’s pick. I was just wondering if the pick awarded to that team would be a lesser pick in the event that a team with a top ten (i.e., protected) pick signed their player. That was the way it was explained to me earlier, and that made no sense whatsoever.



I think the first 12 picks are protected, therefore even if any of those teams sign a Free Agent they will also get their pick. After 12, those teams signing a Free Agent, who had been offered a QO, will lose their first round pick. Nobody jumps into that slot, so that pick is voided essentially meaning that everybody below in the First Round moves up. The Pirates will have 3 picks in the Top 40 if everything goes as predicted. Their drafts of the past 2 years have been excellent and deep – this draft may prove to be the best of the 3 – the projections are for a deep college class especially in pitchers.


It doesn’t matter if the signing team has a protected pick or not. Pirates will still get a pick between rounds 1 and 2.

Under the previous CBA, the signing team’s pick did go to the team that lost the player.

Jordan Jackson

We all know that he will decline it so I guess he could negotiate.


Just curious but I didn’t think players were allowed to negotiate with other teams until the offer was declined?

Apparently that isn’t that case but does seem odd they can negotiate while still having the QO as an option.


I think players can have preliminary discussions this week but cannot talk about money. After next Monday the field is wide open.


Players are free to negotiate with any team after the start of free agency, there is no restriction regarding the QO status.


It would be nice to know if liriano was going to sign or not in order to negotiate with McCarthy. . Hope the yanks to sign him out of the gate

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