Neal Huntington intends to keep Russell Martin in a Pirates uniform

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Pirates catcher Russell Martin knocked in the Pirates’ only run in Sunday’s 1-0 win against the Brewers, helping them inch their way closer to punching at least a ticket to the National League Wild Card play-in game. That came after slugging a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning on Friday to send the Pirates to a late win over the Brewers. Both underscore Martin’s importance to the team.

In fact, had Martin not missed a month between late April and late May, he would very likely have a solid case in the NL MVP conversation. Along with solid defense at the most important position on the diamond, Martin has hit .297/.408/.442 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI. The .408 on-base percentage is tops in baseball.

Martin is also a free agent after the season, which presents an issue for the Pirates. If they’re going to keep him around, they are going to have to commit more years and more money than the two-year, $17 million contract they signed him to back in November 2012. Pirates GM Neal Huntington wants to keep Martin around, though. Via Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune:

Huntington is not wrong to be apprehensive. Martin is 31 and is having what is, by far, the best season of his career. He plays a position in which players are regularly beat up and injuries are commonplace. It’s easy to have a multi-year deal with a catcher go sour very quickly. But, for the contending Pirates, they may not have any better option, as the free agent market is no longer filled to the brim with talent.

No lease extension, but O’s and governor tout partnership

orioles camden yards
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The Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced a joint commitment to what they called a “multi-decade, public-private partnership” to revitalize the Camden Yards sports complex.

The statement from the team and the state’s new governor came Wednesday, the deadline for the Orioles to exercise a one-time, five-year extension to their lease at Camden Yards. The team was not planning to exercise that option, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club hadn’t announced its decision.

With no extension, the lease is set to expire at the end of this year, but the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority can keep negotiating. Wednesday’s joint release seemed to be an attempt to calm any nerves in Baltimore about the team’s future.

“I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Moore, his administration, and the Maryland Stadium Authority in order to bring to Baltimore the modern, sustainable, and electrifying sports and entertainment destination the state of Maryland deserves,” Orioles CEO John Angelos said.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Moore’s vision and commitment as we seize the tremendous opportunity to redefine the paradigm of what a Major League Baseball venue represents and thereby revitalize downtown Baltimore. It is my hope and expectation that, together with Governor Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realize the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”

Republican Larry Hogan, the state’s previous governor, signed a bill last year increasing bond authorization for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Camden Yards. The measure allowed borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium.

“When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionized baseball and set the bar for the fan experience,” Moore, a Democrat, said Wednesday. “We share the commitment of the Orioles organization to ensuring that the team is playing in a world-class facility at Camden Yards for decades to come and are excited to advance our public-private partnership.”

Angelos recently reaffirmed that the Orioles would stay in Baltimore, although he dressed down a reporter who asked for more clarity on the future of the team’s ownership situation. Angelos was sued last year by his brother Lou, who claimed John Angelos seized control of the Orioles at his expense.