Catcher Martin, pitcher Liriano reject qualifying offers from Pirates |

Catcher Martin, pitcher Liriano reject qualifying offers from Pirates

Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano talks to catcher Russell Martin on the mound during a game against the Cardinals on Aug. 25, 2014 at PNC Park.
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Pirates catcher Russell Martin talks with pitcher Francisco Liriano during the third inning against the Reds on Monday, June 17, 2013.

It will take a lot more than $15.3 million for the Pirates to re-sign Russell Martin or Francisco Liriano.

Martin and Liriano on Monday each rejected a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Pirates.

They both crave the security of a multiyear contract, which is a big reason they will test the free agent market.

“We remain open to a potential return to Pittsburgh for each player,” general manager Neal Huntington said via an email sent by the Pirates.

If either signs with another team this offseason, the Pirates will receive a compensatory draft pick after the first round. That could give the Pirates three selections, including their own first-rounder, among the first 40 picks in the draft.

Since the process began two years ago, none of the 34 players who have received a qualifying offer has accepted it.

Martin, 31, batted .290 with 11 homers and led everyday National League catchers with a .402 on-base percentage.

He is regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in the game.

The top catcher available this winter, Martin reportedly already has met with Chicago Cubs officials. The Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers also are expected to make a pitch for him.

Manager Clint Hurdle on Friday said the Pirates will make “a very serious offer” for Martin. That echoed Huntington’s earlier statement that the team is willing to “stretch” to re-sign Martin.

Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Canada reported Martin is seeking a contract similar to the $85 million, five-year package the New York Yankees gave Brian McCann last offseason. Those kinds of dollars and years likely will be out of the Pirates’ reach, even if they stretch.

Liriano, 31, is among the better starting pitchers available. The left-hander, who went 23-18 with a 3.20 ERA over the past two seasons in Pittsburgh, could command a three-year, $36 million contract.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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