Keeping Russell Martin Will Keep Players And Fans Happy

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Sep 14, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Mark Melancon (left) and catcher Russell Martin (right) celebrate after defeating the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. The Pirates won 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent catcher Russell Martin was given a qualifying offer by the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday and the frenzy to pick up one of the best players in the market has officially started.

Pirates’ management has said it would be willing to spend more money than it would in the past to sign and re-sign players this offseason. The situation with Russell will be the true litmus test on whether or not higher-ups are serious about being real offseason players.

Finding catchers like Martin is not easy, but signing him not only brings solid numbers, it also keeps team and fan morale high. Sure, the Pirates have upgraded from the ground floor up, but to actually prove they want to compete for the World Series in 2015 spending money instead of simply relying on players within is crucial. The farm system is strong, the young talent is there and the team is built to win now. Martin is a great player to help keep this team together. His leadership will help younger players and veterans already know what to expect.

The Pirates do not need to eclipse $100 million in payroll, but adding some costs should not be out of the question. There are plenty of free agents to throw cash at, but Martin needs to be the focus. Players and fans alike love Martin’s fiery attitude and it certainly helps that he produces. While it’s nice Martin has a great demeanor, it is more important he continues to put up good numbers. Keeping him in Pittsburgh will keep the lineup potent and fans happy. He will alleviate pressure on Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison.

Today is the first day of the craziness that will come with the Pirates and MLB free agency. The team needs to address starting pitching by picking up a solid middle rotation guy and a reliever or two. It is time Buccos management spends some money instead of sitting and waiting.

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