Here is some bar stool trivia for the next time you want to stump your baseball fan buddies: who signed the richest free agent deal in Pittsburgh Pirates history?
The answer: Russell Martin.
The deal in question was a fairly modest two-year, $17 million deal inked during the 2012 off-season. The 31-year-old catcher said at the time that he wanted a shorter deal so that he could re-enter free agency to cash in for more money.
Martin now says that if the Pirates are interested in offering him that payday in the form of a contract extension, he would be open to it. From Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Catcher Russell Martin is willing to consider a contract extension if the Pirates want to offer one.
‘I’m open to listening to anything,’ Martin said Thursday, adding there currently are no discussions about a new deal between his agent and the team.
Martin is known for his strong defense behind the plate and likely deserves some credit for the overall quality of the Pirates’ pitching staff in 2013. He is a career .255 hitter with a career .743 OPS, offering just enough pop at catcher to place him slightly ahead of his peers. Martin was a central figure in the excitement of the team’s playoff run last season, so it seems fitting that he might settle in with the Pirates beyond the 2014 season.