Cubs “rolled out the red carpet” for Russell Martin

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Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reported previously that the Cubs planned to make a run at Russell Martin and now he writes that they “rolled out the red carpet” in meeting with the free agent catcher yesterday.

Levine says the Cubs are one of at least four teams in serious talks with Martin, who hit .290 with a .402 on-base percentage and .832 OPS in 111 games for the Pirates this season and will turn down the $15.3 million qualifying offer in search of a bigger deal.

Chicago’s current starting catcher, Welington Castillo, hit just .237 with a .686 OPS this season after back-to-back solid years in 2012 and 2013. And because the Cubs’ first-round draft pick is protected, they’d give up a second-rounder to sign Martin.

Marlins give Don Mattingly two-year extension

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The Marlins have announced that they have inked manager Don Mattingly to a two-year contract extensions. There’s a third year in the form of a mutual option.

Mattingly is finishing up the final year of the four-year contract he signed with the Marlins prior to the 2016 season. He’s 272-364 in that period and the club has lost 99 games already this season. The current bad run, however, obviously corresponds with a massive rebuild the team began undertaking following the 2017 season and the team’s change in ownership. Mattingly has not had much to work with over the past two seasons but he has likewise, largely, kept the team on as even a keel as one could hope under the circumstances. He has certainly impressed the Marlins’ brass enough to take the unusual step of keeping on a manager they inherited from a previous ownership and front office group.

In other news, the Marlins also announced a two-year contract extension for shortstop Miguel Rojas valued at $10.25 million. There’s a vesting option for a third year. The deal buys out Rojas’ final year of arbitration eligibility and one year of free agency, plus that option.

Rojas, 30, is hitting .285/.335/.383 (OPS+ 92) this year.