Russell Martin has been connected to four main teams so far — the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last week we heard that he intended to meet with all of those teams. A report out of Toronto today gives us an idea of the contract he is seeking. Jeff Blair of Sportsnet reports that Martin is looking for five years and $75-80 M. That’s similar to what Brian McCann received last off-season, when he got five years and $85 M from the New York Yankees.
Blair also says that Martin has the desire to move out from behind the plate at some point. That would be an interesting thing to think about for the Pirates, although the only long-term spot I see him being able to play would be third base, or maybe first base, and he doesn’t really have the bat for either position.
The rumored range for Martin is close to the qualifying offer price of $15.3 M. Martin will be declining the qualifying offer today, which will give the Pirates a draft pick if he signs elsewhere. As for their chances of signing him, I think they have a chance if he signs a four-year deal at that average annual value. If a team like Chicago or Los Angeles is willing to take him on for a fifth year, then that might tip the scales away from the Pirates.