Following their loss in the National League Wild Card game, the Pittsburgh Pirates began to think about their moves this winter.
One of the biggest decisions they will have to make is what to do with catcher Russell Martin. They have made it clear that they want to bring back the 31-year-old and even offered him a multi-year deal during the year.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Pirates will attempt to keep their catcher even without a long-term deal:
The Pirates plan to extend the $15.3 million qualifying offer to star free-agent catcher Russell Martin, league sources said.
If Martin declines the qualifying offer, he will cost the team that signs him a first round draft pick. The former All-Star hit .290 with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs in 111 games. He also provided solid defense and handled the Pirates pitching staff. He was a major part in turning the Pirates around and helping them reach their first postseason in 20 years.
This move could affect the Los Angeles Dodgers, as they have been rumored as one of the teams that could be interested in Martin’s services. Martin spent five seasons with the Dodgers before signing with the New York Yankees. With A.J. Ellis coming off his toughest season, that could make room for Martin back in Los Angeles. Even though ace Clayton Kershaw has publicly voiced his opinion on bringing Ellis back, the Dodgers could use him as a backup if they find someone better to take the everyday job.
Having the loss of a first round pick attached to Martin could deter the Dodgers from making any deals, especially with new President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman at the helm. Friedman is known for putting a high priority on draft picks and building up the farm system through the draft.