Author: Aaron Gleeman

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates

Russell Martin wants at least $75 million


We already know Russell Martin will turn down the $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Pirates and previously reports have said the Cubs are the front-runners to sign him. And now Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Canada says the free agent catcher “wants a contract worth between $75-$80 million over five years.”

Brian McCann got a five-year, $85 million deal from the Yankees last offseason. Martin is a couple years older than McCann was then and failed to top a .750 OPS from 2009-2013, but he’s coming off a fantastic season in which he hit .290 with a .402 on-base percentage and .832 OPS in 111 games.

Rays “moving closer” to trading former Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson

Jeremy Hellickson

Former Rookie of the Year winner Jeremy Hellickson’s time in Tampa Bay appears to be over, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Rays “are moving closer” to trading him to an unnamed National League team.

Sherman says a deal will probably happen this week.

Hellickson was a top prospect, won the Rookie of the Year in 2011 as a 24-year-old, and followed it up with an equally strong 2012 season. But it’s been all downhill from there.

He posted a 5.17 ERA in 31 starts two seasons ago and then underwent offseason elbow surgery, returning in July to go 1-5 with a 4.52 ERA in 13 starts this season. He’s still just 27 years old, but Hellickson has a 5.00 ERA in his last 238 innings and his career strikeout rate is 6.5 per nine innings.

Derek Jeter’s replacement? Yankees “intrigued” by Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus

Elvis Andrus

As the Yankees look for a Derek Jeter replacement Joel Sherman of the New York Post has an interesting name to consider, reporting that Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus “has the Yankees intrigued.”

Of course, Andrus has an eight-year, $120 million contract that doesn’t even start until 2015.

Texas might be willing to trade him, however, because his performance has stagnated and they have potential replacements in Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar.

The question would be whether Andrus’ market value has declined to the point that the Rangers would have to eat some of his contract to get a trade done or if he still has enough value to fetch a decent return along with the high salaries through 2022.

Andrus hit just .267 with six homers and a .653 OPS in 313 games during the past two seasons and both his defense and baserunning showed signs of decline this year at age 25. Do the Yankees want to be paying him $15 million per season through age 34?

Brewers sign Jeremy Hermida

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners

Former stud prospect Jeremy Hermida spent all of this season playing at Triple-A for the Brewers’ affiliate and he’s re-signed with Milwaukee on another minor-league deal.

Hermida is 31 years old now, so any thoughts of him re-emerging as a star in the majors are long gone, but setting aside his prospect hype he posted a reasonable .749 OPS in 632 games as a big leaguer.

This year at Triple-A he had an .826 OPS with 16 homers and 62 walks in 108 games, so he’s a nice player to have around as organizational depth. Not quite what everyone had in mind when Hermida ranked as a top-30 prospect by Baseball America in three straight seasons, including No. 4 overall in 2006.

Dodgers’ new GM Farhan Zaidi has a good sense of humor

Farhan Zaidi

Earlier this week Los Angeles Times writer Steve Dilbeck posted an article about the Dodgers’ new-look front office that was full of cliched, hack jokes about “geeks” and “nerds” and statistics and all the crap the baseball world seemingly moved past years ago.

Here was one of his lame references:

The Dodgers have formed their very own Geek Squad. Not exactly sure how much baseball wherewithal they actually have, but I know where I’m taking my laptop the next time it has a virus.

And so today, when new general manager Farhan Zaidi met with the media during his introductory press conference, he started by saying this:

Smart, respected within baseball, and funny. Or at least funnier than Dilbeck, which admittedly isn’t saying much.