While the New York Yankees remain the favorites to sign Russell Martin, they are not the only team pursuing him.
The free-agent catcher also is drawing significant interest from the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates, according to major-league sources.
The Rangers, in particular, could pose a threat to the Yankees, who intend to be under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold by 2014.
Martin, 29, almost certainly will command a multi-year deal, and the Rangers conceivably could pressure the Yankees by making him a substantial offer.
On the other hand, the Yankees might not be willing to risk losing Martin over a difference of say, $2 million per season.
The average annual salary of players on multi-year contracts is used for luxury-tax purposes. The Yankees want to reduce their payroll below $189 million by ’14 to reap a variety of significant financial benefits under the new collective-bargaining agreement.
Both the Yankees and Rangers are thin at catche