Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said "The free-agent catcher Russell Martin is drawing significant interest from the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates, according to major-league sources." The Yankees are trying to bring him back in the fold, too. He's asking for, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, a four-year contract worth $9-10M annually. He won't get that but...
Per Jon Heyman of CBS' Baseball Insider "Word going around is that the Pirates might come in with the high bid, perhaps for three years and close to $25 million. The Yankees are not believed to be offering anything close to that, but the bidding isn't over and it has been thought likely that Martin would prefer to stay in New York." David Manel of Bucs Dugout points out that "If Martin stays a 2+ WAR player, (1 WAR = $4.5M value), the Pirates wouldn't be overpaying at $8.3M/yr. The question is, should they spend on other needs first?"
Apparently the FO doesn't have a lot of faith in Tony Sanchez at this point. The 29 year old Martin hit .211 with 21 HR and 53 RBI last year, and had a 24% throw-out rate, about league average. He has a rep as a strong defensive catcher and one of the best at framing pitches.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN highlights five underrated free agents, and has two of them as good fits for Pittsburgh - SS Stephen Drew and a guy the FO is already pretty familiar with, Jason Grilli. Wonder if the Buc brass agrees?
- According to one Vegas book, the Bucs have a better chance of signing Josh Hamilton than do the Dodgers.
- The Pirates signed LHP Philippe Valiquette to a minor league contract, per Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects. The 25 year old Montreal-born reliever was banged around in the Brewer's mid-minors last year, but played in the All-Star Futures game in 2010 before tearing a pectoral muscle and missing all of 2011. He had a mid nineties heater, said to touch three figures a couple of years ago, and those kind of arms, especially coming off an injury, are worth a shot.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post said that the Rox are looking at Kevin Correia. He wrote "Colorado is looking for a pitcher to fill the role it cast Guthrie in last January: a reliable arm, capable of giving the team a chance to win every five days. Correia fits that profile."
- Jeff Clement became the third Indy minor-league free agent to sign with the Twins, joining RHP Tim Wood and C/OF Eric Fryer.
- Not real surprisingly, no Bucco pups were named to the Arizona Fall League All-Prospect team.
- Remember RHP Todd Redmond, who the Bucs traded to Atlanta after the 2007 season for reliever Tyler Yates? Last year, the Braves sent him to the Reds for SS Paul Janish, and Cincy has just inked the 27 year old to a MLB contract.
- And another oldie, SS/OF Brent Lillibridge, who the Bucs traded to the Braves with LHP Mike Gonzalez for 1B Adam LaRoche and 1B/OF Jamie Romak in 2007, is now a free agent after being dropped off the Indians 40-man roster. Since leaving Pittsburgh, he's played parts of five seasons for four clubs with a .213 career BA, living up to his good glove, bad bat rep. As for the others, LaRoche and Gonzo are also FAs this season while Romak just signed a minor league deal with the Cards.