Report: Cubs meet with Russell Martin
Cubs president Theo Epstein said it when they signed manager Joe Maddon to a five-year contract: Their first free agent acquisition (Maddon) might help them recruit others in their quest to contend next year.
MLB.com’s Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat quoted Epstein on that topic in Chicago’s Hot Stove preview, and a few paragraphs later mentioned veteran catcher Russell Martin as a potential target.
It appears the Cubs are getting to work quickly.
Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reported Friday morning that the Cubs “rolled out the red carpet” as they met with Martin on Thursday.
Martin would obviously be a huge acquisition for the Cubs, but Levine writes that he and his agent will also meet with the Pirates, Martin’s former team, as well as the Dodgers (another one of his former employers) and Blue Jays.
Martin hit .290/.402/.430 with 11 homers and 67 RBIs in 111 games for Pittsburgh last season. The 31-year-old backstop also provides a valuable presence behind the plate, as the advanced defensive metrics suggest he saved 28 runs over the past two seasons.
Martin likely will come with a high price tag. Catcher Brian McCann signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees entering his age-30 season, if you’re looking for a potential comparison.
The Cubs are definitely in the market for another starting pitcher this offseason, and they’ll be connected to high-profile names like Jon Lester and Max Scherzer. Will that pitcher take the mound at Wrigley Field with Martin behind the plate?