Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that the Pirates offered catcher and soon-to-be free agent Russell Martin a contract extension late during the regular season, but Martin rejected it. Details of the offer are not known.
Martin, 31, had a fantastic year with the Pirates, the latter half of a two-year, $17 million contract he signed with the club in November 2012. The veteran hit .290/.402/.430 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI while being a stalwart behind the plate. Among hitters with at least 450 plate appearances, Martin’s .402 on-base percentage ranked fourth in baseball behind teammate Andrew McCutchen, Victor Martinez, and Jose Bautista.
The upcoming free agent market for catchers is grim beyond Martin, so teams in need of a front-line catcher will have laser focus on him. Last off-season, Brian McCann was made rich when he signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees during the past off-season — $59 million more than the next-richest contract (Carlos Ruiz, Phillies for three years). Heyman suggests Martin could attain a similar contract in both length and value, which may price the Pirates out of the bidding.