Just one day after the Cubs were "front runners" for Russell Martin's services, we have this report from CBS' Jon Heyman:
blue jays are signing russell martin to 5-year deal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 17, 2014
That's a big-deal signing for Toronto, as catching had been one of their real weak spots.
I'd have liked to see Martin signed by the Cubs; here are the terms of the deal, probably more years and money than Theo & Jed wanted to spend:
Source: Martin deal with #BlueJays is five years, $82M.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 17, 2014
What this means, at least for now, is that the Cubs will go into 2015 with Welington Castillo and John Baker as their two catchers, unless the Cubs decide to go in a different direction for the backup slot.
Castillo still does have some "potential," though he'll be 28 next April and that tag isn't really appropriate for him anymore. He needs to work on his pitch framing, though the rest of his game is decent enough for a big-league catcher and he did post 4.5 bWAR in 2013.
This presumably leaves more money in the Cubs' budget for signing Jon Lester.
You might also be interested in this trade made today, which will definitely shake up the N.L. Central:
#stlcards announce they've acquired OF Jason Heyward and RHP Jordan Walden for RHP Shelby Miller and RHP Tyrell Jenkins.— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) November 17, 2014
We'll be seeing a lot more of Heyward, then, over the next few years. Instant reaction: Seems like an admission by the Cardinals that they lost a lot when they traded Allen Craig away, and now they have to give up pitching to get that offense back.