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Russell Martin, 3 other Pirates officially become free agents

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Martin, Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez and Clint Barmes have officially become Article XX B free agents, the MLBPA has announced.

This is obviously no surprise, but it's as clear a start to the offseason as we're likely to get. The Pirates will now have a brief window to negotiate exclusively with their four free agents, who can negotiate with any team starting on Tuesday. The Pirates still have a bit of time to make decisions about qualifying offers.

The statuses of Martin, Liriano and (to a lesser extent) Volquez have been discussed ad nauseam here. The Pirates are unlikely to agree to deals with any of them before Tuesday, and my guess is that they won't re-sign any of them after that, either, even though I'm sure they have interest in all three.

Barmes might be a different story -- he'll be cheap again, and as a utility infielder, he's a good fit, given his strong defense. It's unclear, however, whether the Pirates view the newly acquired Justin Sellers as a candidate to head north with the team next March, or just an insurance policy in case they can't find a better backup infielder. If it's the former, Barmes will likely sign elsewhere.