The Cubs appear to be the front-runners for Russell Martin, Ken Rosenthal wrote tonight, although he later indicated the Blue Jays were serious players as well. Rosenthal suggests that Martin's contract appears to be heading toward something like four years and $64 million. He notes that the Jays were serious players for Victor Martinez, which would make sense, in that Martinez received a four-year deal in that range.
Anyway, $64 million is a bit below some of the figures we've heard for Martin recently, which sounded a bit wild to me. For the Pirates, though, even four years and $64 million is dangerous territory for a catcher in his 30s. (Or for lots of player types -- Ben Nicholson-Smith notes that two players who recently received similar contracts are Curtis Granderson and Jason Bay.) The Cubs can afford that. The Pirates probably can't, even if we believe the payroll ought to increase. Anyway, if Martin can't end up back with the Pirates somehow, I'll root for the Jays -- I don't want him back in the NL Central.