BOSTON, MA - APRIL 17: Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers hits a two run homer in the second inning as Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox catches on April 17, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
When Russell Martin signed a two-year deal worth $17 million with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, it sent shockwaves throughout baseball, and for a couple of different reasons.
Here's the ramifications: First off, Martin is no longer a Yankee, which means the Yankees are in need of a catcher. Could that mean the Yankees get involved in the Mike Napoli sweepstakes, along with the rumored interested teams being Boston, Seattle and Texas? The chances are good, I'd say, and if that happens the bidding could get beyond what the Rangers want to spend.
"it's a little bit of musical chairs," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Thursday in a conference call. "There's a limited supply this year as far as guys who are available, and we're stlill looking at our options."
Musical chairs is a good way of putting it. What does Martin's deal do for Napoli? Martin was reportedly asking for four years for $40 million — or $10 million a year. Instead, he got two years at $8.5 million a year. That's far below his asking price and we're not even to the Winter Meetings yet. Napoli is seeking four years at $11 or $12 million a year, reportedly. Napoli is without a doubt the top free agent catcher on the market, but it'd be hard to say he's twice as good as Martin with the exception of his stellar second half of 2011.
That could work into the Rangers' favor as they seem to really want him back, but only on their terms.
The Winter Meetings begin Monday in Nashville. Let the fun begin.
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