It’s Official: Martin’s a Yankee


Via Buster Olney, Russell Martin passed his physical and his one-year deal with the Yankees is now official. He will earn $4M in base salary, and I assume there are some incentives in there as well. Martin turned down a $4.2M offer (with another $1.7M in incentives) from the Dodgers before they non-tendered him, instead asking for $5.5M guaranteed. He either misread the market or really wanted to get out of Los Angeles.

The physical was no formality; Martin missed the last few weeks of the 2010 season with a hairline fracture in his hip after taking an awkward step crossing the plate. His agent confirmed that there was no damage to the labrum, which is good news. The Yankees will be able to control Martin for the 2012 season as well since he still has another year of arbitration eligibility remaining, so they gained some flexibility should Jesus Montero need time to adjust to the big leagues or (gasp!) be traded.

Categories : Asides, Transactions


  1. the Other Steve S. says:

    Four catchers? That should be enough.

    • jsbrendog (returns) says:

      2 catchers. martin and cervelli. 1 dh, posada. 1 catcher in aaa. montero. when montero demonstrates he is ready, be it ST or june what have you, he comes up, cervelli either goes down or goes bye bye, romine moves up to aaa

      • Yeah, I don’t know why so many people seem to think this is a problem. If Spring Training came around and someone like Martin hadn’t been added I feel like we’d be hearing a lot of ‘man, I wish Cashman had found some more depth at that position so we weren’t relying on Cervelli/Montero.’

      • Monteroisdinero says:

        If that is the case, I would highly recommend a trip to see THE JESUS in a minor league game closest to you. You can watch him mash and actually see for yourself that he can catch/block and even throw!

        • The Three Amigos says:

          No one is disputing that, hell we all hope Jesus walks into spring training and never looks back. By far the best case scenario! However, the AL East is really tough and at 21 no less. Catcher is by far the hardest position to learn since you also have to call a game and be on every single pitch.

          Therefore, I LOVEEEE the depth of having a major league starter there to step in if all the above doesn’t go perfect. Plus, even if it does go perfect do you really want Montero to catch 140 games his first season? I don’t, it will be the most he has ever caught, I assume by far and I rather not burn out his bat by september.

          • OldYanksFan says:

            Didn’t Posada share Catching with Griardi for 2 years before he became full time?

            I agree, the Jesus may be a bit young for the Show. But with Po here, and Girardi and Pena around full time, it could be a tremendous learning experience.

            So maybe he Catches 60 games and DH’es when Po catches or has a day off. And he’s there for PH’ing. It seems to me as long as he knows he ain’t the Pimary guy and he is still allowed to struggle, that he is better off up here.

            I don’t know if Po is around in 2012. While his D is terrible, he is still experienced and knowledgeable. And like Po was mentored by Girardi, I’d like to see Montero get the benefit of playing along side of Posada.

            • jsbrendog (returns) says:

              jorge posada is the fulltime DH for 2011. he won’t/shoudln’t catch more than 20-30 games

              • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

                replace half of what he said with martin.

                Montero needs to be eased in, learn, and carry his weight with some good hitting when possible.

        • jsbrendog (returns) says:

          i saw him play a couple times as well as hit and play int he aa allstar game. but this has nothing to do with it. ready or not he is 21 and can benefit from more time in the minors

      • Chris says:

        It’s more likely that Cervelli will start in AAA than Montero.

        • jsbrendog (returns) says:

          disagree, esp with the martin signing. unless montero throws out every runner in ST and hits 500. but we all know how important ST numbers are

  2. A.D. says:

    Interesting on the less money, figure with the Yanks he won’t catch every single day so hopefully that will keep him from being exposed while keeping Cervelli and Posada (assuming he still catches once in awhile) fresh.

    • RL says:

      I think the key here is to keep Cervelli from Being exposed, as he was last year. Martin should get the majority of starts, with Cervelli filling in and maybe an occasional start from Posada. When Montero comes up, he should split time faily evenly with Martin. The way Cervelli’s season ended, I don’t see him getting equal playing time with Martin. Martin will be better defensively and, I suspect, offensively as well.

  3. Dave says:

    I thought I read a few weeks ago that the Dodgers would have used Martin behind the plate and as a utility guy at third and second. Any truth to that? Would he be adequate enough in those spots that if Montero makes the team, Martin could back-up those positions and allow the Yankees just to keep Pena for short without picking up another utility guy?

  4. kenthadley says:

    R. Martin = Joe Girardi with more pop…..

  5. SRB says:

    Dump Cervelli and let’s finally see if some of these “assets” (as Cashman keeps saying)can play- Montero’s bat is ready and his defense isn’t any worse than what’s been back there!

    • Riddering says:

      Cervelli’s play at the MLB level is a known quantity. Montero’s is not. While Cervelli is still cheap there’s no reason to dump him.

      • Chris says:

        I agree, but there’s really no reason to keep him on the major league team next year. Send him to AAA in case Montero really needs to go back down.

        I see Martin as an insurance policy for Montero, no a replacement.

        • Steve H says:

          Or keep Montero down until June to keep his arbitration clock from starting. In case of emergency break the Jesus glass before then, but Martin and Cervelli as the 2 catchers (with Posada in an emergency) is not bad.

          • Chris says:

            Why sacrifice wins now to save a few million dollars a few years down the road?

            The Yankees just signed a catcher for $4M, do you really think they’re going to be concerned about saving a similar amount (or maybe slightly more) 3 or 6 years in the future?

            • Steve H says:

              But there is zero guarantee that Montero means more wins than Martin.

              • jsbrendog (returns) says:

                and there is a chance that bringing him up too soon, esp when you don’t need to because you have an everyday catcher, you burn him out as a 21 yr old or somehow hurt his growth. leave montero be unless he DESTROYS ST or martin gets hurt. give martin a month or 2, let him show what he can do and if anything goes wrong or if jesus is DESTROYING aaa then bring him up. there is no need to be rash for god sakes. (agree! circle gets the square!)

                • Chris says:

                  if jesus is DESTROYING aaa then bring him up.

                  That’s exactly what he did in the second half last year. He earned a call up.

                  It’s not being rash to call up a top-10 hitting prospect that destroyed AAA. Being rash would be having your backup catchers being Cervelli and Posada. That’s why they signed Martin.

                  How would being on the major league team in April burn him out or hurt his growth?

                  • Steve H says:

                    There is a long list of prospects who have destroyed AAA that struggled (mightily) when they got to the majors. There is also prospects (big ones) who have destroyed AAA one year and then regressed the next. Along with that, Jesus is a major question mark defensively.

                    • Chris says:

                      True, but you won’t know how he’ll do until he’s in the majors. Keeping him in AAA because he might struggle doesn’t help.

              • The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

                And there is zero guarantee Martin will have a wRC+ of over 100 which is league average. I don’t know why we are going to assume he can cut it when Montero can’t.

                • Steve H says:

                  But we do know a few things. Martin is not a big question mark defensively, even an improved Jesus is a significantly inferior defender. Martin is certainly ready for the major leagues. Martin doesn’t have an arbitration clock, which while not a huge deal, should be considered. Martin won’t block Montero, but there is no reason to rush Montero either.

                  • Chris says:

                    There are 3 catchers that have a reasonable argument to be on the major league roster: Martin, Montero, and Cervelli. To me, it’s pretty obvious that Cervelli is the worst option of those 3 and should start in AAA. If Montero struggles, then you can swap him with Cervelli, but the starting point should be Montero in the majors.

                    • jsbrendog (returns) says:

                      false, cervelli, while sucking, has been in the majors and has no more growth to be stunted. he shouldnt be overexposed with martin and is a very serviceable backup catcher. no reason to do anything with him until you need montero or he proves he is ready. small sample size one part season in aaa. let the kid show he can keep it up first.

                    • Chris says:

                      It’s not like he suddenly had a breakout season in AAA after struggling in the lower minors. Montero has done nothing but hit since he made his pro debut. How long does he need to keep it up to convince people? If he hits well through April and May in AAA, who cares – it’s just 2 months. He’s proven his bat is more than ready to play at the major league level, and there’s no reason that he can’t hone his catching skills in the majors with Tony Pena and Martin mentoring him.

                      As for it only being half a season in AAA, his overall OPS ranked 6th in AAA, so even counting his very slow start he had a great year.

  6. Tom T says:

    This kills 2 birds with one stone: acquire a useful catcher who can actually throw runners out with OBP skills and keep him away from Sox.

    • If you care to believe WEEI (I don’t), the Sox never had any REAL interest in Martin. He was only going to be a depth move in case Salty or Captain America doesn’t work out. So that tells me that the Sox really anticipated Martin playing a lot.

      • Andrew says:

        Also I’d like to point out that as soon as it became apparent the Yankees were where Martin was heading, the Sox spin machine started up with gems like this about how they hated his medicals and assumed his hip would explode, and only saw him as a minor league deal-type flier and not a MLer.

        So that must mean they were totally in on him and just offered less money than NYY.

  7. Basil says:

    What I’m hoping to be able to see from this is, in a given 5 man rotation: Martin catches Burnett, no questions asked. I want our best defensive catcher assigned to him, Montero gets CC, (hopefully) Pettitte, and possibly Hughes, and Martin also gets our #5 starter. Then, when playing teams that run a ton, Martin can catch instead of Montero, and against teams w/ great pitching but sh!t speed, Montero slides in there. Just not when Burnetts on the mound. That head case needs all the stability we can give him.

    • jsbrendog (returns) says:

      can all the ignorant fans please sotp with the burnett’s a headcase? do you have any idea how hard t is to repeat a pitching motion perfectly everytime and not mess up or fall out of a routine? do you have any evidence he is mental? are you his psychiatrist? seriously, i hate yankee fans because they’re uninformed and jump on any one dumb thing that the media reports (in general of course)

  8. Monteroisdinero says:

    Martin’s a Yankee. Funny header. He was one of the great Yankees actually.

    • JGS says:

      He hit .262/.313/.376./.688 (88 OPS+) in parts of seven seasons for the Yankees. He played in 100 games just three times and qualified for the batting title twice. His place in the organization is due to his relationship with Steinbrenner and ensuing five stints as manager.

      “one of the great Yankees” is a bit of a stretch.

      • Monteroisdinero says:

        Well-his # is retired, he was a starter and part of multiple championship teams in the 50′s and stats don’t tell the whole story believe it or not.

        Billy Martin=Great Yankee

        No stretch

        • OldYanksFan says:

          No…. he is far from a great player. Miles. But he was George’s dance partner for many balls. Thus his fame and his retired number.

          If he was one-and-done as a manager (instead of being rehired-refired 6 times), people would hardly know his name.

      • A.D. says:

        The clutchness, 937 OPS in the Series

    • Slugger27 says:

      well, as a manager anyway

  9. Johnny O says:

    Like this, although I think we’ll see closer to 2010 Martin than 2007. If anything, this is worth it just to avoid seeing Cervelli and pushing back Jesus’s super 2 status a year. Keep him down til June 1. Considering Jesus’s first free agent contract will have $35M AAV, the Yankees just saved $31M. BOOM!

  10. Andrew says:

    You never know what happens in Spring Training in terms of injuries, in-shapeness, performance, etc. I think the book is not closed on Jesus breaking camp with the Yankees but this move makes it so much easier to give him some more time at Scranton and let him be a “break glass in case of emergency”-type asset on the farm ready for the call should Jorge, Cervelli or Martin get injured or be god-awful.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      He made huge strides from last year ST (I saw him and he was a bit soft) to end of year Scranton (I saw him and he was leaner/faster/stronger). He had adjusted his diet and had been working with a personal trainer which I’m sure he has continued. He is going to be great.

  11. bonestock94 says:

    I guess he’ll be worth it if you believe the ~4.5M/1 WAR calculation. Feels like a lot more than he’s worth though. We never have to see Cervelli again though, that’s great.

  12. Graig not Craig says:

    The Yankees were 27th in stolen bases allowed per game in 2010. Could this be more of a pitching issue than catching issue?

    Posada CS%
    2009 — 28%
    2010 — 17%

    2009 — 43%
    2010 — 14%

  13. MrJigginz says:

    Knowing it was only a hairline fracture puts me more at ease about the injury.I had one,although it was just above the ankle and not the hip,and it healed pretty quick and clean.Always liked him as a player.Hope it works out(As I’m sure most of us do.)

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