SOUTH HILLS - I think we all understand Russell Martin is going to be a tough sign unless he gives a discount in years or dollars to the Pirates. And discounts are usually pipedreams in free agency. In an impending free agent class bereft of catchers, Martin stands alone as the only star-level or even starting-caliber talent. The Pirates have never given more than $17 million to a free agent (really) and that free agent was Martin. Martin reportedly turned down a midseason extension offer, according to John Heyman, from the Pirates.
I don’t want to get your Monday started off on a sour note but here is the list of potential 2015 free agent catchers: John Buck, Ryan Doumit, Nick Hundley, Gerald Laird, Martin, Jeff Mathis, Wil Nieves, Ronny Paulino, A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross and Geovany Soto. All of these catchers are deeply flawed outside of Martin, and many are advancing deep into their 30s. Moreover, teams aren’t likely to give away talented catchers with reasonable contracts cheaply in trades.
The good is news is prospects Elias Diaz (ETA 2016) and perhaps Reese McGuire (ETA Mid 2017/Early 2018) are coming. Still, the Pirates need a bridge to that homegrown talent. So if Plan B doesn’t exist in the free agent market what is the Plan B internally?