The Cubs are thought of as the clear frontrunner to sign catcher Russell Martin, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Rosenthal notes that the Blue Jays are also thought to be in the mix, with Martin expected to land a contract in the four-year, $64 million range.
Martin has drawn interest primarily from the Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers and Pirates, but recent reports have downplayed the Dodgers' interest and the Pirates' acquisition of catcher Francisco Cervelli may indicate that they are no longer in play for Martin. Chicago is known to be willing to spend big this offseason and have reportedly made Martin their first priority before potentially jumping in the market for rotation or bullpen help.
In 111 games for the Pirates last season, Martin hit .290/.402/.430 with eleven home runs and 67 RBI. The three-time All-Star was reportedly looking for a five-year deal on the open market, but may have to settle for a four-year deal at a high average annual value around $16 million.