Russell Martin Rumors

Mike Napoli Rumors: Tuesday

It's a good time to be a free agent catcher with power. Interest in Russell Martin remains strong, and the market for Mike Napoli seems similarly active. Here’s the latest on Napoli on a day that he had been scheduled to meet with the Rangers…

  • The Rangers remain focused on Napoli, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Their interest in Martin will increase only if Texas believes Napoli’s asking price is too high.
  • The Red Sox are in contact with Napoli, Nick Swisher and Cody Ross and all three free agents remain in play for Boston, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Napoli, Swisher and Ross appear to be the top targets for the Red Sox, who seek help at first base and in the outfield. One executive said he views the Red Sox as the favorite to sign Napoli. Like Swisher, Napoli has the versatility to play multiple positions, a bonus for the Red Sox.

New York Notes: Dickey, Wright, Martin, Ichiro

It's been a busy baseball day in New York, as the Mets made David Wright a nine-figure contract offer while the Yankees moved closer to re-signing Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Here's the latest out of the Big Apple…

  • "Negotiations are progressing, that's all I can really say about it," said R.A. Dickey when asked about contract talks with the Mets during an appearance on ESPN's Mike & Mike (audio link). The knuckleballer admitted to being loyal to the club since they gave him a chance when others passed.
  • David Lennon of Newsday says (on Twitter) it appears the Mets want to sign Wright to a new contract before wrapping things up with Dickey.
  • Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York hears Russell Martin is seeking a four-year contract worth $9-10MM annually (Twitter link). He doesn't believe the Yankees will go that far.
  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports (on Twitter) the Yankees are not having serious talks with Ichiro Suzuki at this time.

Pirates, Mariners Interested In Russell Martin

Free agent catcher Russell Martin is receiving significant interest from the Pirates and Mariners, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The Yankees remain the favorites to sign Martin, but it appears that they'll have to duke it out with the Bucs and M's in addition to the Rangers.

Interest from the Pirates and Mariners makes sense as Pittsburgh has a glaring need at the position while the Mariners are looking for offense at a variety of spots, including catcher.  The Mariners have Jesus Montero and John Jaso, but Montero is likely to see more time at DH next season. 

Rosenthal writes that the Rangers in particular pose a significant threat to the cost-conscious Yankees who are looking to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold by 2014.  However, the Bombers might be willing to stretch for Martin if it requires about $2MM more than they would like to spend.



Heyman On Martin, Ichiro, Swisher

The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com…

  • The Yankees and Russell Martin are discussing a new contract, though Martin appears to be talking to at least one other team. Talks involving the free agent catcher are “heating up,” according to Heyman. The Yankees made progress with Martin over the weekend, though the sides were apart on dollars several days ago. The Rangers have Martin on their list and other teams, such as the Pirates, Mariners and White Sox, are considering catchers.
  • The Yankees are confident they can re-sign Ichiro Suzuki, Heyman reports. The Yankees expect to reach a deal with the free agent outfielder, who has said he hopes to return to New York.
  • The Red Sox, Braves and Giants appear to be looking at Nick Swisher, Heyman reports. The market for Swisher seems strong enough for him to obtain a deal of at least four years and executives see the outfielder signing for $12-14MM per season. The Red Sox like Swisher’s versatility since they have openings at first base and in the outfield. Meanwhile, the Braves and Giants are also looking for corner outfield help.

AL East Notes: Robinson, Martin, Yankees

On this date in 1957, Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle won the AL MVP, narrowly edging out Ted Williams of the Red Sox for the award. Williams had superior numbers on a per at bat basis, but Mantle played in more games, had more wins above replacement and the Yankees won the pennant. Here are today's AL East links…


Catching Rumors: Pierzynski, Martin, Soto

Earlier today we heard that the Red Sox maintain interest in Mike Napoli, even after signing David Ross. Here are some more rumors surrounding this offseason’s free agent catchers…

  • It appears A.J. Pierzynski will play for a team other than the White Sox in 2013, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports. While the sides are both interested in working out a new free agent contract, factors such as payroll space, timing and Tyler Flowers could mean Pierzynski signs elsewhere.
  • The Rangers are considering Russell Martin, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). With Napoli on the open market, the Rangers are looking to free agency for potential replacements. Rival executives expect the Rangers to non-tender Geovany Soto, Olney reports. Back in August I explained why Soto could be non-tendered this offseason.
  • Check out MLBTR’s Free Agent Tracker for a detailed look at available catchers.

Heyman On Yankees, Giants, Belt, Red Sox, Hamilton

The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..


Red Sox Notes: Dempster, Martin, Upton, Free Agents

Though it can be argued that misses in free agency were the cause of Boston's disastrous 2012 season, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald thinks that shrewd free agent signings could help the team quickly return to prominence.  Here's the latest from Fenway Park…

  • The team has "shown only preliminary interest" in Ryan Dempster, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).  Lauber notes that the Sox also didn't make a major push for Dempster at the trade deadline, though that could have been because they already considered the season lost.
  • Red Sox officials were "seen meeting on" free agent catcher Russell Martin at the GM meetings, tweets CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.  Signing Martin "might require more moves" for Boston, given the presence of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway behind the plate.
  • Though the Diamondbacks are said to be looking for a third baseman, shortstop or starter in a Justin Upton trade and the Red Sox have several young players at those positions, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe doesn't think the Red Sox would part with any of their young core at this time.
  • Just because the Red Sox are coming off one losing season, I don’t lump them in with the non-contenders,” one player agent tells Scott Lauber.  “Knowing what we know about the Red Sox, the market they play in, they’ll be back in the fray.”  Another agent, however, predicts that veterans pursuing short-term deals on World Series contenders (such as Boston targets like Hiroki Kuroda or Torii Hunter) might avoid the Red Sox since the club doesn't look like it will turn things around by next season.
  • GM Ben Cherington said the team is focusing on other needs besides at shortstop, reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  This would seem to indicate that the position is Jose Iglesias' to lose, though Abraham predicts the Sox will sign a veteran backup at short.
  • Assistant GM Mike Hazen discussed Boston's young talent, the idea of trading prospects for established stars and other topics in a radio interview on WEEI's Red Sox Hot Stove Show.  WEEI.com's Alex Speier has the partial transcript.

Olney On Bonderman, Braves, Haren

Jeremy Bonderman hasn’t pitched at the MLB level since 2010, but he’s ready to return to the big leagues, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. Bonderman lost 35 pounds and his arm feels good following reconstructive elbow surgery. He’ll be ready to throw for teams by January and hopes to sign a minor league contract with an invitation to MLB Spring Training. Here are more of Olney’s notes from around MLB…

  • Teams checked in about the availability of Brian McCann before the Braves exercised his $12MM option for 2013, Olney reports. The Braves would have wanted a decent return in a trade, but other teams were looking to acquire the catcher cheaply.
  • Some Atlanta executives are realistic about their chances of signing Michael Bourn. It doesn’t look like the center fielder will re-sign with the Braves.
  • Many executives assume the potential trade that would have sent Dan Haren to the Cubs blew up because of health issues, Olney writes. This means CAA Sports, the agency that represents Haren, will have to convince teams that the free agent right-hander is healthy.
  • The Yankees like Russell Martin a lot, but won’t overpay to keep him, Olney writes.

Rosenthal On B.J. Upton, Bourn, Morse, Ethier

Here's the latest from FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal as he dissects the buzz and rumors currently circulating around the league…

  • The addition of two former members from the Rays organization has nothing to do with a potential pursuit of center fielder B.J. Upton, says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
  • While some teams may prefer Upton over Michael Bourn thanks to his age (nearly two years younger) and the ability to hit for power, Rosenthal points out that Bourn's value comes from being a well-rounded player. 
  • Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche's decision regarding his free agency may greatly impact Washington's course of action this offseason, especially with left fielder Michael Morse
  • The notion that the Dodgers may consider moving Andre Ethier just months after signing him to a five-year, $85MM contract simply wouldn't be the best move for Los Angeles heading into 2013, opines Rosenthal.
  • Look for the Yankees to re-sign Russell Martin, but the Bombers have had their eye on free agent David Ross, who has served as Brian McCann's backup with the Braves since 2009.
  • The Cardinals and second baseman Skip Schumaker may be parting ways this offseason as the veteran no longer has a defined role with the club thanks to the emergence of young talent.