SPORTS

Russell Martin extended 1-year, $15.3M US qualifying offer by Pirates

11/03/2014 05:48 EST | Updated 01/03/2015 05:59 EST
The Pittsburgh Pirates have protected themselves in the likely event impending free-agent catcher Russell Martin signs elsewhere.

Martin, 31, was extended a one-year, $15.3 million US qualifying offer by the National League team on Monday. The $15.3 million figure was determined by averaging salaries of the 125 highest-paid players in baseball for the 2014 season.

Martin, a Montreal native, has until 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 10 to accept or decline the offer, and could still negotiate with the Pirates after declining.

Should Martin decline, as expected, Pittsburgh would receive a compensatory draft pick. In November 2012, Martin signed a shorter deal, a two-year pact worth $17 million, so he could test free agency, which begins in earnest across the major leagues on Tuesday.

No player has accepted a qualifying offer since the process began in 2012.

Martin is expected to draw a lot of interest after he played a significant role in the Pirates clinching a second consecutive playoff berth.

In 111 regular-season games, he posted a .290 batting average and .402 on-base percentage while throwing out a major league-best 37 runners attempting to steal. The Pirates’ pitching staff also boasted a 3.28 earned-run average in games caught by Martin.

Martin is also a finalist for a Gold Glove alongside St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, a six-time recipient, and Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy. Martin earned a Gold Glove in 2007, an awarded voted on by managers and coaches (75 per cent) and sabermetrics analytics (25 per cent).

The winner will be announced Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.

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