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Insider Only Morning Pirates Buzz: How valuable is Russell Martin $$$?, No Polanco this weekend!

Getty_Russell_Martin_Barmes_oub38hie_g6g6jq4b MORNING PIRATES BUZZ
In what will go down as one of the strangest games in recent memory, Everth Cabrera’s bunt single in the first inning was the only hit by the Padres in Wednesday’s game, and they still beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 thanks to Francisco Liriano.
Liriano was dreadful, couldn’t find the plate and walked six batters in the loss. Liriano walked the bases loaded in the fourth inning and then walked Chris Denorfia to give the Padres a 3-1 lead.
San Diego hit just two balls out of the infield. It was truly unbelievable that the Pirates lost that game. Regardless, they went 6-4 on the 10 game road trip, but the inconsistency of the starting rotation remains a glaring problem that continues to hold them back.
For a few minutes everyone was buzzing about Gregory Polanaco being called up for Friday’s series vs Milwaukee. Tim Williams of, citing two “different sources”, first reported that Polanco was traveling to Pittsburgh on Thursday and would not only be called up for Friday’s game but also be in the lineup.
The facts are that Polanco isn’t coming up, at least not for the series vs Milwaukee. A front official via text message Wednesday night said “He’s not coming up under any circumstances Friday or the weekend. No plan in place.”
Though no one with the Pirates will admit it, the sense seems to be that calling Polanco up this week would still be a bit risky when it comes to his Super-2 Status, although he appears safe.
Russell Martin, 31, is in the final year of his deal making $8.5 million this season. How valuable he is to the team is already a hot topic in town and around the Majors as he could be a trade chip if the Pirates are sellers at the trade deadline.
Since returning from injury, the Pirates are 8-1 with Martin in the lineup, 0-4 when he doesn’t start.
The Pirates thinking or at least hope has been that Tony Sanchez could hold down the starting spot for the next 2-3 years until top catching prospect Reese McGuire is ready, who scouts feel has excellent potential to be a stud catcher in the Majors.

However, good luck finding a scout who feels Tony Sanchez is a starter caliber catcher when it comes to his defensive ability. Sanchez has shown some promise with the bat.
Two winters ago, Martin and his agent decided to take a two year deal from the Pirates instead of a three year deal worth $24 million that was also on the table with the mindset of getting a bigger deal on the next contract.
One Pirate official believes Martin has his eye on a four year, $40 million contract.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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