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.

Brewers sign Freddy Peralta to a multi-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to a five-year $15.5 million deal with pitcher Freddy Peralta. There are two club options as well, which would nearly double the overall value of the contract if exercised.

Peralta, who turns 24 in June, has amazing stuff. He has struggled so far, having posted a 4.79 ERA in 163.1 major league innings across two seasons, but people who follow him closely believe that he’s primed for a breakthrough. For now he’s a reliever — he’ll likely be a multi-inning fireman for the 2020 season — but he has was mostly a starter in his rookie year before assuming swingman duties last season. He could become one again if things break right in his development. Sort of a Brandon Woodruff track.

If that happens the Brewers will, quite obviously, have a bargain on their hands. If not, at least Peralta has some security on his.