The Pirates may offer Russell Martin a three-year deal

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Russel Martin wants a four-year deal.  The Yankees are only willing to give him two years, reports have said. Perhaps if someone were to split the difference? Jon Heyman reports:

Word going around is that the Pirates might come in with the high bid, perhaps for three years and close to $25 million. The Yankees are not believed to be offering anything close to that, but the bidding isn’t over and it has been thought likely that Martin would prefer to stay in New York, where he has been the starting catcher the past two seasons.

Heyman says that while the Rangers and Mariners are also involved, the Yankees — and now the high-bidding Pirates — are the favorites. Martin is expected to make his decision in the coming days.

Location or dollars? The dollars almost always win.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.