Yankees may not make offer to Martin

It seems like every day brings a new twist in the free agency of Russell Martin, but today the news is not good if you’re a proponent of bringing Martin back to the Yankees. George King reports that, with the Pirates and Rangers showing much interest in the Yankees’ incumbent catcher, Martin may sign with another club without the Yankees so much as making an offer of their own:

With the Pirates increasing an offer from two to three years for upwards of $22 million and Texas showing interest in Martin, the Yankees feel there is a solid chance Martin grabs a deal .

“He could be off the board before they get to him,’’ a person familiar with the situation said of Martin and the Yankees, who made pitching an early off-season priority over catching and right field.. “The Pirates and Rangers have needs at catcher.’’

King further reports that, though Martin likes the Yankees and would like to remain with the team, he’s not necessarily going to wait around and let the other interested teams move on to other options, especially if the Yankees are reluctant to offer him the prevailing market wage. And yes, this is about Hal Steinbrenner’s austerity edict.

I understand that a lot of people aren’t keen on paying Martin to stick around after he struggled at the plate, but as Stacey and I both agreed last night; I think this underestimates the extent to which viable alternatives are going to be hard to come by. In terms of free agents, it’s basically A.J. Pierzynski or a quasi-platoon scneario with Mike Napoli, neither of whom is likely to come at any less cost than Martin. They could hit the trade market for a young, cheaper, catcher, but that kind of commodity is almost never available, so to get one would likely require a hefty return. The only other option would be the waiver wire, but obviously the pickings there are likely to be slim.

All of which is to say that the choice is likely between re-signing Martin and having Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli doing the catching in 2013. Framed that way, I’d like to think Martin 95 wRC+ last season doesn’t look so bad.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

6 thoughts on “Yankees may not make offer to Martin

  1. Bill

    Unless Brian Cashman has something up his sleeve, this is a dangerous non-move. Austin Romine, while talented, has given us no reason to be confident he can stay in one piece. Gary Sanchez is at least two years away, AJ Pierzynski would be a clubhouse cancer and Mike Napoli is a hitter who catches, not a catcher who hits. If Martin signs elsewhere, the Yanks have a big problem. Unless Cashman springs the surprise he always seems to do.

    • I agree with all of that, minus the AJP assertion that he's a "cancer". Not true. He's a pain in the ass to his opponents, not his teammates.

  2. uyf1950

    MLB TradeRumors has reported that the Pirates and Martin have agreed on a contract. Specific have not been released.
    I know many on this site were looking forward or wanted Martin to return. However, this Yankee fan isn't going to shed any tears that Martin won't be returning to the Yankees.

  3. All of which is to say that the choice is likely between re-signing Martin and having Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli doing the catching in 2013. Framed that way, I’d like to think Martin 95 wRC+ last season doesn’t look so bad.

    Well, yeah, um, errrr.

    • jay_robertson

      If I wasn't so lazy, I'd go back thru last year, and see how much Brien loved Martin when he was struggling. For the last week, he's become more important to the team than Thurman and Posada rolled into one.

      We need a catcher; Stewart and Franco are not awesome; but guys – NEITHER was Martin. ???

      But at least its done – we can get on with our life, and see if he struggles as much as Montero in his new home. I'd put serious money on Martin being any better than a replacement player in his third year.

  4. NYsteve

    Any chance they dangle Tyler Austin and/or Banuelos to try and land someone like McCann? I think if they could pull off a 3-way deal and jettison Granderson somewhere and get Upton in the trade (and maybe a catcher as well) then losing a blue chip prospect would be worth it.

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