(CBS) The Cubs will seriously pursue catcher Russell Martin in free agency, CBSSports.com MLB insider Jon Heyman reported Wednesday, citing team sources.
Chicago’s biggest priority will be adding an ace pitcher — there’s mutual interest between the Cubs and Jon Lester, and Max Scherzer will be on the radar too, according to reports — but finding a steady battery mate for a staff with several young pitchers is also a need.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Heavy Rain Causing Flooding, Dangerous Driving Conditions And Power Outages
Martin is undoubtedly the best catcher on the open market. With the Pirates this past season, he hit .290 with 11 homers and 67 RBIs and had a strong .402 on-base percentage, a metric the Cubs struggled mightily in. Martin is also highly regarded for his defensive skills and work with pitchers.READ MORE: City Offering COVID-19 Booster Shots Starting Monday
The Dodgers are also expected to be a suitor for Martin, and the Pirates will work to retain him, Heyman reported. Pittsburgh already made a “multi-year proposal” to Martin this past season that he didn’t accept, according to Heyman. The Pirates extended a one-year qualifying offer worth $15.3 million recently, but Martin’s expected to turn that down and listen to all interested teams.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Rain Continues Into Monday Afternoon; Wind Advisory, Lakeshore Flood Advisory In Effect
Martin’s reportedly seeking a five-year deal. Brian McCann ($85 million) and Yadier Molina ($75 million) have signed five-year contracts in recent seasons, and Martin’s haul figures to be in the ballpark of theirs.