Well now what?

Sadly, Russell Martin’s tenure as a New York Yankee is over. The Russ Bus has pulled out of the Bronx and will make port in Pittsburgh now after Martin reached a deal with the Pirates last night. This leaves the Yankees with few options in the catching department and I, frankly, have no idea what they’ll do.

I would think that not signing Martin means they won’t sign A.J. Pierzynski. Everything was set for a Martin/Yankees reunion. His price would be reasonable and the Yankees needed a catcher. But, that didn’t happen for whatever reason. Either the Yankees didn’t like Martin as a player, which I doubt, or they found the price tag too high. While it’s not the most reasonable thing in the world, I have to think it’s the latter. And if the Yankees thought a 2/$17MM deal was too much for a catcher of Martin’s talents, then they sure aren’t going to go after Pierzynski, whose tag is likely to be much higher as he’s probably a) got a little more name value and b) is coming off of a career year.… Click here to read the rest

Pirates Reach Agreement With Russell Martin

USA Today

Goodbye Russell Martin. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Pirates have agreed to signMartin. Although the catcher had a weak defensive and offensive year, his pitch framing has always been regarded as top-tier.

There are few other options the Yankees have at catcher now, so it’ll be interesting to see what the team does. The Yankees budget may have had something to do with failing to re-sign Martin, but perhaps the team has a better player in sight.

Last week I suggested that the Yankees target Geovany Soto as a possible right handed DH and backup catcher. Though the once rookie of the year’s defense is average, he’s failed to reach his offensive upside over the last few years. Assuming he’s non-tendered by the Rangers, he’s one of the few options aside from the controversial AJ Pierzynski. It’s very unlikely that the team will rely on Austin Romine for the entire season, but they do have some depth with backup caliber catchers.… Click here to read the rest

Russell Martin Joins The Waiting Game

Pictured: Not Russell or Ichiro

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Well it looks like Ichiro isn’t alone in holding out for the tall, handsome Yankees to ask him to dance before settling on another suitor.  George King of The Post had the deets on Russell Martin also being sweet on the Yankees and reportedly being willing to wait his turn for a contract offer while they sort through things with Mo and Andy before pursuing other options.

This is an interesting situation for both Martin and the Yankees.  On the one hand, Martin is coming off a 1-year deal where he didn’t hit the ball particularly well after turning down a 3-year offer from the Yanks before the season, which does reduce his negotiating leverage with the team.  On the other hand, he still hit 21 HR, played solid defense, and is still just 30 years old in a year where the catching market is thin and other teams that can spend with the Yankees are in need.  … Click here to read the rest

Russell’s contract

A little less than a year ago, I crowd sourced a possible contract extension for catcher Russell Martin. Obviously, no such extension was offered or signed. Now, though, Martin is a free agent, probably the best free agent catcher on the market. The Yankees have seemed to like Martin in his two years in the Bronx and I’d bet a reunion is a pretty solid possibility.

Now that we’ve had a year of Martin, and up and down one at best and a bad one at worst, what do you think Martin can and will fetch? Use the comments to discuss. As for me, I think Martin will get a three year contract worth somewhere in the 8-10 million dollar range. And that’s just fine with me. Martin isn’t the strongest hitter in the world, but he hits just fine for a catcher and draws plenty of walks and has a good deal of pop. He also plays fine defense and seems to have a good rapport with all the pitchers.… Click here to read the rest

A.J. the Alternative

I’m on the record, multiple times, as saying Russell Martin is going to be the Yankees’ starting catcher for 2013. Not only do I think that’s going to happen, but I also think it’s the best possible thing for the Yankees. The other catching options aren’t all that appetizing and one of them, David Ross, is already off the market; he signed with the Red Sox last week. Despite my desire for Martin, I think it’s worth while to check out at least one alternative, and that’s A.J. Pierzynski.

He’s been a topic of conversation in the comments of some articles here, and for good reason. Pierzynski just had a career year. He posted a 118 wRC+, his best mark since a 112 mark way back in 2003, his last season with the Twins. Between then and 2012, his wRC+ didn’t go above 93 (2006). He also experienced a power surge, posting a .223 Iso (former career high .163) and slugging 27 homers (former career high 18).… Click here to read the rest

Re-Signing Russ Is The Right Move

Bring this guy back. Courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Newsday

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

It could be a lot different.  Russell Martin could be kicking back right now recuperating from the long season and waiting to enter the second year of a 3-year contract.  But he chose to decline the Yankees’ offer before this season and took the plunge on another 1-year deal.  That plan backfired a little bit on him, as Martin’s .211/.311/.403 batting this season didn’t do a lot to help his negotiating leverage this offseason.  But Martin is a known commodity in the Yankee organization, and a valued on at that, and down season or not it sounds like things are already progressing towards a new deal to stay in the Bronx.

Anthony McCarron of The Daily News reported last Sunday that the team and Martin’s agent have already talked and that, “it was all very positive.”  Nobody is close to putting pen to paper yet, but the fact that talks are starting this quickly shows there is desire on both sides to have Russ remain in a Yankee uniform next year. … Click here to read the rest

Is David Ross A Better Option Than Russell Martin?

What could be arguably the most important position in baseball, hasn’t been a concern for the Yankees over the last 14 years. Jorge Posada might not have been the greatest defensive catcher of his time, but he made up for it with an incredible bat. With the Posada era coming to an end, the Yankees prepared themselves well for the next phase. But even with a rich depth in catching prospects, and an advanced take at catcher’s value, the Yankees are somehow left without a legitimate option at catcher this offseason.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Russell Martin is not Jorge Posada. He will never put up the offensive numbers that guided the Yankees to four championships, but Martin has value in a place oft-forgotten. Defensively, Martin can be considered above average, even after a mediocre season. He doesn’t allow many passed balls, he rarely earns an error, and his career numbers indicate that he’s pretty good at throwing out runners.… Click here to read the rest

Martin Poised For A Rebound… Eventually

When there’s pitching, there’s no hitting, and when there’s hitting, there’s no pitching. This best summarizes the Yankees 6-12 record since landing in Oakland on July 19th. While it’s clear that Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano have started to hit over the last week, Russell Martin has quietly increased his batting average from .184 to .194. Since mid-July, the catcher has bumped his batting average from .176 to .194, and over the last ten games, he’s 9 for 32 (.281 BA) with 6 walks (.395 OBP) and 2 homeruns. As silly as it sounds, the player who’s been under the Mendoza Line since June, might be able to carry the team through the final stretch of the season.

Bad Luck Makes Russell Martin Sad (Keith Srakocic/AP)

From a statistics point of view, Martin’s numbers are astonishing. Despite a .288 career BABIP, the catcher is only at a .203 BABIP for 2012. Even last year .252 BABIP could be considered unlucky from a batted ball rate standpoint, but since then he’s only improved those numbers.… Click here to read the rest

Catching the Future Part Two

The catching situation for the Yankees is bleak. Russell Martin? Struggling. Chris Stewart? Not good. Austin Romine? Injured. Francisco Cervelli? Also playing poorly. For a more detailed breakdown, check out this post by Mike over at RAB. The one person who’s happiest about this has to be Russell Martin. Why? Because this situation bodes well for Martin’s return to pinstripes in 2013.

First let’s review Russell’s season a bit. His batting line sits at an inexcusably bad .179/.300/.348. That grades out to a .293 wOBA and a 79 wRC+. The only catcher with all around worse numbers is (brace yourselves) Jesus Montero (.281/78). His strikeout rate is also 20.2%, which represents a career high for Martin (from 2008-now, his K rate has risen each year). On the flip side, his walk rate his a more-than-respectable 12.3% and looks an awful lot like his career rate of 11.6%. His Iso is also at .169, much better than his career mark (.134) and almost exactly where it was last year (.170) and his HR/FB% is even higher (16.3) than it was last year (15.9) which marked a previous career high.… Click here to read the rest