Report: Pirates offered Russell Martin an extension; he rejected it

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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.

José Ramírez has a broken hamate bone, likely out for the year

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José Ramírez had to leave last night’s game against the Royals in the middle of his first-inning after he injured his wrist on a swing. This morning the Indians determined that he has a fractured right hamate bone. He has been placed in the Injured List and his season is almost certainly over.

Ramírez started the season slowly, but in the past two months he had turned it on to help fuel Cleveland’s surge. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven this month. Basically, he’s been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018.

The Indians have called up Yu Chang to take Ramírez’s spot on the roster. He and Mike Freeman will likely get most of the reps at third base going forward.

Just a tremendous loss for the Indians.