It was a sleepy Sunday for a while, but then the Chicago Cubs traded for Tommy La Stella, and now we’ve got a report on Russell Martin and the Cubs, complete with an actual contract estimation:
Executives involved in bidding for Russell Martin believe #Cubs are clear front-runner. Deal expected to be in four-year, $64M range.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 17, 2014
That’s a pretty significant report right there.
To be sure, folks can be wrong in these situations, even executives “involved in [the] bidding.” You also always have to wary of agendas when the sources for this kind of report are the very people most impacted by it. Then again, let’s be honest: they’re also among those in the best position to know.
Not only are the Cubs mentioned as front-runner, but we’ve also got a very specific contract figure: four years, $64 million. If Martin winds up unable to get that fifth year from a bidder, then this is approximately the AAV you’d expect to see. Martin was reportedly seeking a five-year deal at $15 to $16 million, so, if he couldn’t get five years, you had to wonder if he’d at least get the high end of the AAV he wanted. Recently, I speculated that perhaps the Cubs were at four years and something near the AAV Martin wanted, but he was waiting for a little bit to see if another team – the Dodgers? – would go to five years. Perhaps now we’re seeing that they won’t?
I’m trying to keep my excitement in check here, but, if the Cubs do land Martin, and if that does end up being the deal, I will be thrilled. Sure, it’s a lot to pay a 32+ year-old catcher on an annual basis, but when you consider how many boxes Martin checks even before you consider possible offensive value, he’s just such a great fit for this team at this time.
With Martin’s market seeming to clarify early in the process, he may be the first higher-end free agent to make a decision, and it could come as soon as this week. You’re on high alert.