Russell Martin getting a deal that the Pirates would have no interest in matching was inevitable and on the surface, going five years was something the Pirates, Cubs and Dodgers were likely smart not to do.
However, let’s not act like the Pirates couldn’t afford Martin. They could. Bob Nutting runs this franchise like a business, sets a budget and sticks by it. He’s not a owner who operates like the franchise is a toy and who will go above and beyond to win a championship. That’s not his primary goal with this franchise.
Nutting will never be the guy who walks into Neal Huntington’s office and demands to go get player X and Player Y no matter the cost so they can put the Pirates over the top.
While five years is risky for Martin, this is still a deal others in similar markets are dishing out and for a Pirates team with Andrew McCutchen in his prime and under team control for four more years, maybe now would have been the time to take this gamble. At somepoint it would be nice for the Pirates to say heck with it, we’re going to budget and spend above our means for three to four years with this core in place.
— While Martin exits the NL Central, another big move today was the St. Louis Cardinals acquiring Jason Heyward from Atlanta.
— When the Pirates looked into acquiring A.J. Burnett at the deadline, one draw back to the Pirates passing on him is internally they projected him as their No. 4 or No. 5 starter in the rotation with how well Edinson Volquez was pitching and belief that Charlie Morton could return to form. Huntington admitted Friday with the Burnett signing, it is unlikely the Pirates can bring back both Edinson Volquez and Francisco Liriano. If Liriano leaves, the Pirates will go from potentially spending $30 million to resign Martin/Liriano to replacing them for $9.5 million with Francisco Cervelli and Burnett.
— Giancarlo Stanton’s 13 year, $325 million contract is official with a reported opt-out after six years.


— The AFC is so bunched up for the final two wildcard spots that it’s hard to envision any scenario of the Steelers getting in if they don’t come out of Tennessee with a victory tonight. A loss to a bad Titans team will be devastating for a variety of reasons. Tonight’s game might have little buzz surrounding it but it’s a huge game.
— Things change on a week to week basis but New England has surpassed Denver as the class of the AFC. Hard to see the Broncos returning to the Super Bowl if they don’t get home field.
— What Bruce Arians is doing in Arizona is amazing work. Think the Bears regret not hiring him? Arians has completely changed the culture of that organization in less than two years and gets everybody to buy in, something his former bosses in Pittsburgh are struggling to do. Arians ability to play to the strength’s of Carson Palmer and now Drew Stanton proves how good of an offensive coach he is but it’s how the Cardinals have constructed their defense that has them atop the NFC at 9-1. If you have a Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson to build your defense around in the secondary, it gives you the ability to attack the opposition in some many different ways like the Steelers were able to do years ago with Troy Polamalu. It might be enough to carry them through the NFC.
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