Yankees Agree to Terms with Russell Martin

Thoughts on the Cliff Lee non-signing
Yanks have considerable room to maneuver

Cross-posted from FanGraphs.

(Mark J. Terrill/AP)

When the Dodgers non-tendered Russell Martin, it was only a matter of time before some team took a flier on him. Three AL East teams, in fact, were reportedly seeking his services. This morning we learned that the Yankees have come out ahead. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports that the Yankees have agreed to terms with Martin. His presence could drastically alter how the Yankees approach the next eight months.

Taking on Martin certainly represents a risk, or else the Dodgers would have tendered him at the deadline. After hitting at least .280 in each of his first three seasons, Martin has been around .250 in each of the past two. During that time he has seen a dip in his BABIP, but it hasn’t been drastic. What’s more troublesome is that he has experienced a significant power dip in the last two seasons.

Also of concern is Martin’s hip, which he fractured in early August. That ended his season at just 97 games. While hip injuries are always a concern — and the Yankees reportedly think his physical is a big deal — it did afford him a bit of rest. From 2007 to 2009 Martin starts 449 games, which is the most among the 85 players who were behind the plate for 90 percent of their games. The next closest are Brian McCann and Jason Kendal at 422. Martin had played in 97 of the team’s 107 games up to his injury in 2010 as well. Wear and tear is certainly a concern with him.

Even as his average and power declined, Martin still managed to produce more than 2 WAR in each of the past two seasons. That is in part due to his position, but is also due to his sustained walk rate. When Martin broke out in 2007 he walked in 10.8 percent of his plate appearances. He’s remained above that mark ever since, which has allowed him to keep his OBP at a respectable level. In 2009 his .352 OBP ranked sixth among catchers with at least 400 PA, and his .347 mark would have ranked eighth in 2010 had he qualified. Since his debut in 2006, the only catcher who has drawn more walks is Joe Mauer.

Martin can help the Yankees immediately this off-season. After losing out on Cliff Lee, the Yankees could turn to the trade market in search of a starter who can fortify the 2011 rotation. That will mean sacrificing a few of their prospects. Chief among them is Jesus Montero, a 21-year-old catching prospect who figures to rank among the game’s top five prospects. If the Yankees want to make a splash, especially for a pitcher such as Zack Greinke, they’ll need to offer Montero. Having Martin on board helps them do that.

If the Yankees prefer to retain Montero and see if he can develop behind the plate, Martin helps them do that, too. His presence allows them to start Montero in the minor leagues. That allows them a bit longer a period to assess the situation. If Montero continues to mash AAA pitching and shows semi-competent skills behind the plate, the Yankees can perhaps flip Martin, or else use him to help ease Montero into the starting role — in the same manner they eased in Jorge Posada with Joe Girardi in the late 90s. If Martin produces heavily, the Yankees could also be inclined to use Montero as a July trade chip.

Martin might represent a risk, but it is one that the Yankees are positioned to take. They have plenty of available money after losing out on Lee — perhaps up to $25 million — so they can afford to absorb Martin’s 2011 salary if he flames out. If he comes back to his 2009 and 2010 levels, they’ll at least have a catcher with a decent OBP who can help ease Montero into the role (if they don’t trade him first). If he rebounds to his 2007 and 2008 levels, the Yankees have an absolute steal. In any case, it was a good move for a team that has money to burn.

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Thoughts on the Cliff Lee non-signing
Yanks have considerable room to maneuver
  • BklynJT

    Glad to see the site back online and with analysis of the Martin trade already.

    Ps. You guys must of really pissed someone off for them to be attack your site so feverishly…

    • http://www.twitter.com/adorador00 Ray Fuego

      It’s a disgruntled fan mad that the RABis didnt convince Cliff Lee to come to NY.

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        it’s Bo/sal/grant/lanny back for revenge

    • Gerald Williams

      You have to like this move. Martin has a lot of upside, and now we finally have a catcher that can THROW OUT RUNNERS! We can be patient with Jesus and keep Jorge as the DH. I feel like if we kept Montero this long, we should stick with him and see what he’s got. He could be mashing 30-35 HRs a year soon. You don’t throw away that kind of potential if it isn’t for something amazing. I don’t really see the Yanks pulling off a blockbuster now. The only way I’d trade Jesus is for Felix, Cain, Wain, etc… It would take a really good young pitcher, and no… I don’t want Zack G. I don’t think he could handle NY. Just please don’t trade Swisher. That guy is awesome to watch!

      Imagine if Martin goes back to hitting over .280 with stolen bases and pop!

      • BklynJT

        Stops dreaming about Cliff Lee and starts dreaming about R.Mart

      • Jonathan

        so i guess you know Zack and you’re a clinical psychologist who specializes in social anxiety disorders? You’re just like everyone else. you don’t know jack about how his disorder would affect him playing anywhere else. You can guess, but that is just what it would be; a guess.

        • http://bronxbombersreport.com Craig

          And why does he need to be called out for his guess? He didn’t make any ignorant comments relating to the disorder. Besides, I would guess that 60-70% of Yankees fans don’t want Zack Greinke because they don’t think he could handle it. Zack Greinke, himself, said he didn’t think he could handle NY.

          P.S. I’ve read the Yahoo! report and I’m not buying it.

          • Jonathan

            saying he doesn’t think he could handle NY when he has no information to base it off of is completely ignorant. it’s the definition of the word.

            • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

              Well if you’re going to get bent out of shape over a fan saying “I don’t think he can handle New York” without having fool proof evidence, you’re going to shave five years off of your life. Yankees fans have been saying that about players for years.

            • MikeD

              I suggest both sides are ignorant on this issue. Those who assume Greinke can not pitch in NY because of his social anxiety disorder, and those who assume that his social anxiety disorder will have no impact on how he pitches in NY. I’ve yet to see anyone comment on this who is an expert on the disorder and its potential impact.

  • BINNER

    Edited by RAB: This was off-topic. We know we have server issues.

  • RL

    A good, well thoughtout move that helps the team in many ways. I like this. Reasonable cost, short duration, high upside.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      and he is under team control next yr if he passes his physical so if he pans out either sign him or go to arb, and if he doesn’t, well then it is nontender city, population: russ martin

  • John

    On the part of all Yankees fans in Quebec, bienvenue Russell.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Bye Jesus.

    • http://www.twitter.com/adorador00 Ray Fuego

      Jesus isn’t leaving unless for a bona-fide ace. I think the FO are quite stout on that position.

    • DJH

      “It would be a rare situation for me to include Montero in a deal.” – Cashman, 10 mins ago

      So it seems to me the only way Jesus is gone is if the Yanks can get one of the top 20 pitchers in baseball and I don’t see any available, I think he stays.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Oh cool where did he say this?

        • Sayid J.

          Conference call that he just finished up with. Lohud and Twitter have some quotes.

    • Monteroisdinero

      Do not trade him. Have Martin and Cervelli carry his jockstrap for a few months maybe, but no trade.

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        cervelli is awful. once martin shows he is healthy then cervelli eithr gets dumped or sent back to aaa to sit behind romine if he has moved up

        • Stan the Man

          Is Cervelli awful? I mean he batted .271 which is 23 pts higher than Martin, Frankie also had a higher slg %, OPS, RBI’s and batted 200 pts higher with RISP and 2 outs. Martin did throw out 38% of base runners but he also had 10 E which doesn’t tell me he is an upgrade over Frankie behind the plate.

          Also just to keep in mind with AJ on the mound how many baserunners will Martin actually throw out? AJ has given 38 straight steals so Martin won’t improve that number at all.

          Overall Frankie is 3 yrs younger and is improving while Martin is declining in his so called prime years with a major injury concern. I wouldn’t move Cervelli at all and would keep both Martin and Frankie while Montero gets some more seasoning down in AAA before writing off either of these guys.

          • RL

            While not “awful”, he becomes over-exposed when asked to be anything more than a part-time catcher (20-25% of games at most). And that is clearly visibile if you break down his season stats into thirds as opposed to looking at it in it’s entirety.

            • Stan the Man

              When you look at someone’s stats and one guy is better in every area but 1 then you can break down anything you want into thirds but Cervelli had a higher batting avg, slug pct, obp, and ops so he was clearly better for parts of this past season.

              Martin has declined and the Yanks are buying him cheap which is fine but no matter how you break down the numbers Cervelli was better last year offensively than Martin and Martin wasn’t much better defensively than Cervelli.

              Which is more likely to happen Cervelli improve defensively or Martin to return to 2008 production?

              • tomaconda

                I’ll take door number two Monte!

              • Jonathan

                when you use rbi’s and runners in scoring position it doesn’t help. When healthy, Martin is out of this world more talented than Cervelli. Also, don’t you think you should look at more than one year? Torre ran the poor guy into the ground. Martin is better at controlling the running game and has much more power ( as does anyone). I’m having a tough time figuring out how Martin wasn’t much better than Cervelli defensively. Not to mention Martin was almost twice as valuable according to fWar. He also walks more and strikes out less. Any of this seeping through? More power, better defense, better at BB and K and 5 times the upside. Even in his worse year his WAR was almost twice of Frankie’s entire career. Cervelli isn’t worthless but he isn’t as close to Martin as you think.

              • http://www.twitter.com/adorador00 Ray Fuego

                Martin has done it before, Cervelli has yet to prove anything.

              • Jonathan

                Martin was better according to fWAR, ISO, BB% scratch the K% in the other post I misread to numbers. Russel was also 8th in the voting for the 2010 fielding bible.

              • A.D.

                Chances are the two of them can make each other look better, Martin by keeping Cervelli from being exposed, Cervelli by keeping Martin fresh

  • DJH

    I like the move, he’s young with upside, great at throwing runners out, follows the Yankees traditional patient approach and can help ease Montero in.

  • Adam B.

    Plus Martin is very good at throwing out runners, something Cervelli, Montero and Posada are not.

    • Stan the Man

      Cervelli did throw out 43% in 2009 which would tell me he can throw runners out but maybe he was affected greatly by being AJ’s personal catcher last year and that he had a defensive slump last year as a rookie catcher. At 24 yrs of age he could very well improve defensively which would obviously make the Yankees better if he can get back to his 2009 form.

    • MikeD

      Please. Cervelli was regarded as a strong defender through his minor league career and his first year in the majors. He’s young and had an off year, partly driven by the Yankees’ pitchers inability to hold runners outside of Pettitte, and having to catch the nightmare known as AJ in 2010. He unfortunately was forced in to role he wasn’t made for, which was the starting catcher. That’s why Martin is a better solution, since he can hold down the job of starting catcher, if that’s needed.

      I don’t think Martin’s signing is a bad day for Montero. I think it’s a bad day for Cervelli. Plenty of clubs will take him, though, which is why he’s not going to be cut. I assume the Yankees still have minor league options on him.

      • Dave

        I understand the sentiment for Frankie. But here’s the thing: you can’t consider last year an “off” year. For guys like Jeter, sure. But Cervelli doesn’t have an MLB track record. He may well have thrown out 50% of runners in the minors, or 40% of runners over the course of 2 months in ’09. But when your ceiling is already viewed as being a backup, you can’t hit a lick, and your first substantial opportunity to be depended on as a defensive stalwart goes kaput, you’re not going to get the second chances in NY like you would in Pitt or KC.

        I get why everyone loves him. His attitude, effort and demeanor. People love the scrappy underdogs. I get it. Just know that those type of risks don’t fly in NY.

  • Hughesus Christo

    It’s not a bad move, but the idea of this making it okay to trade Montero is offensive to my sensibilities.

    • http://www.twitter.com/adorador00 Ray Fuego

      AMEN!

    • Chris

      This. There’s really no evidence that Martin will be able to hit in 2011.

      • Sayid J.

        Agree to disagree.

        • Chris

          What evidence is there that he will hit in 2011? The last time he hit was 2008.

      • STEVIS

        what Cervelli can???

        • Stan the Man

          Cervelli 2010 batting line. avg – .271 38 RBI’s .359 OBP

          Martin 2010 batting line. avg – .248 26 RBI’s .347 OBP

          Cervelli isn’t an automatic out like Jose Molina was and certainly won’t hit for the power that Martin was able to hit but Cervelli did bat .381 w/RISP and 2 outs and Martin batted .172. Cervelli didn’t play well defensively last year which is not good but Martin wasn’t much better 13 errors by Cerv and 10 by Martin.

          Both of these guys are back ups right now and Martin is declining while Cervelli is only 24 and has improved his batting in his limited time in the bigs.

          • hello9

            splits by month last year

            Cervelli OPS+
            April/March 134
            May 111
            June 45
            July 40
            August 54
            Sept/Oct 198

            Martin
            April/March 105
            May 79
            June 82
            July 80
            August 152

            We also know that at one point Martin put up stats that even the most optimistic fans don’t think Frankie will ever sniff.

            • Stan the Man

              So Cervelli has 3 pretty good months and Martin didn’t. If the splits are supposed to show me that Martin is really better than Cervelli than why are Cervelli’s numbers better than Martin’s for the entire season?

              I am not going to get to excited about a guy who was good 4 yrs ago and hasn’t come close to touching that guy since and the Yankees shouldn’t be expecting 2007 Russell Martin.

              • tomaconda

                yeah but the 40 45 and 54 are downright ugly.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

                I mean, if you want to compare guys based on one season you will end up saying some pretty ridiculous stuff.

                Note, too, that Martin got hurt on August 8. At that point Cervelli was hitting .255/.328/.317.

                • Stan the Man

                  I get that but it isn’t like Cervelli has been in the league for 5 seasons so I am comparing their last season which happened to be Cervelli’s first full season in the bigs.

                  Cervelli not getting hurt and having a big September during a division race shouldn’t be a knock against him and I am surprised wouldn’t garner more support from Yankee fans.

              • Jonathan

                once again, any time you choose to use RBI’s your argument is completely discounted. Delmon Young had more RBI’s than Cano. Cervelli’s entire line is a mirage from his massive BABIP spike and some lucky HPB in the early part of the season. Only so many 12 hoppers up the middle can go through. that isn’t his true talent level.

                two stats to NEVER use to argue a point without sarcasm:
                RBI
                BA w/ 2 outs RISP. Cano in 09 and Werth in 10 were horrible in those situations.

                • Stan the Man

                  OK whats stats should I use to ensure that Russell Martin had a better year than Cervelli last year?

                  Did he have a higher OPS? SLG? OBP? Should we only discuss home runs?

                  • Jonathan

                    if you can’t even grasp that RBI’s are a miserable way compared to WAR and ISO and walk rate etc then there really isn’t any point in arguing. I have no idea why you have such a boner or Cervelli but you’re doing exactly what you claim i’m doing. You’re using inferior stats without a frame of reference to back up your crush.

            • Stan the Man

              Way to toss in his August OPS+ since he had 9 AB’s and 48 total AB’s after the All-Star break which again provides more evidence that he won’t be the player he was in the past.

        • Chris

          The original comment is:

          It’s not a bad move, but the idea of this making it okay to trade Montero is offensive to my sensibilities.

          There is plenty of evidence that Montero can hit, but none that either Cervelli or Martin can. I take this as a move to allow Montero to ease into the majors catching less than full time while the Yankees move Cervelli or send him to AAA.

    • Stryker

      i really don’t think montero is going anywhere. he should only be traded for young, cost controlled ace-type pitchers – which are a very rare commodity right now. if there’s anything we’ve learned from july to today it’s that this cliff lee situation was very rare (both in terms of what the yankees would have given up to trade him, and that they lost out on him in free agency). i can’t see this happening again.

    • Dick Whitman

      Agreed. This move makes it okay to trade Romine, not Montero.

      • RL

        This move makes it okay to trade Romine

        I’d be OK with this. If either Martin returns to pre-2009 form or Jesus proves he can stick at catcher and having Sanchez in the pipeline, Romine becomes expendable.

    • http://bronxbombersreport.com Craig

      I will not forgive the Yankees if a Russell f’ing Martin signing leads to a trade of Jesus Montero. I probably wouldn’t watch more than 10 games in 2011 either.

  • John

    If you want to have a feel of Quebec’s patriotism, look what’s on the homepage of the leading sports channel in Quebec, Le Réseau des Sports (RDS).

    http://www.rds.ca/

  • jsbrendog (returns)

    please don’t trade jesus!

    • BklynJT

      I think it may be even harder to trade Montero after the monsterous second half of the year he had at AAA, then compared to the trade deadline. Then again, Cashman may be desperate and make a bad move. And a trade at this point wouldn’t be for half a season for a pitcher.

  • Skip

    I don’t think Montero as trade bait due to this trade is a serious consideration. What sense would it make? Martin wouldn’t even be much of an upgrade over Cervelli. Statistically, maybe, but only minor differences. If you trade Montero, you need a big name – that’s King Felix or nothing, that’s what I say. Otherwise, my belief is that Big Baby Jesus will be on the opening day roster, or at the very least, called up in June.

    • http://bronxbombersreport.com Craig

      I don’t know about the opening day roster, but Jesus Montero definitely needs to be in Yankee pinstripes in 2011 – and stay in them.

      Like you said, I would not be upset to see Montero dealt in a deal for the likes of Felix, Hanley, Tulo, Upton, Miggy and maybe handful of others.

      (Before anyone wants to come at me, I realize that some of those guys are a lot less useful to the Yankees. They’re just my boys and they’re filthy.)

  • Rey22

    How much did they sign him for?

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      good q. i havent been able to find any salary details although i am severely constrained by the web filter at work

      • RL

        The fact that he turned down $4.2M to stay with the Dodgers, leads me to believe the contract will be closer to the ~$5M he made in 2010.

        • Rey22

          Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Good value if he bounces back, but if he doesn’t it’s another Nick Johnson out the window. If they really plan to commit to Montero at mid-season (assuming he’s not traded of course), it’s a bit expensive to pay for a backup catcher with injury concerns.

        • Thomas

          The Dodgers also offered like $1.5M in incentives based on games played, so he is probably looking at $6M+ from the Yankees.

  • Will

    I feel like the catching plan should basically be the same as before — if Montero wins the job, he and Martin can split time behind the plate, Posada can full-time DH (and swallow his pride), and Cervelli can be jettisoned.

    Above all, I feel like Montero should be completely untouchable at this point. Yes, he’s “just a prospect” still, but short of someone like King Felix, I can’t imagine who he’d be worth trading for when this rotation ALREADY has an ace. (Sabathia? Everyone remembers him, right?)

  • Monteroisdinero

    Yogi-18 years with us
    Sado-17 years with us
    Jesus-17-20 years with us

    /please

  • Bullwinkles

    This is a move made primarily to have a plan B to trade Montero and take your pick (Gardner, Granderson, or Swisher) plus some minor league pitching prospects for a young quality ace if one is available on the market. If not then we will have a fun competitive team, but it will be a grind to get to the World Series for awhile. But hey, it could be worse. You could be a Mets fan:)

    • Hughesus Christo

      You remember the ALCS, right?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        When the Yankees were two wins away from the World Series? Yep.

        • gc

          Yep. And they lost twice to a guy who is no longer even pitching in the American League.

          • http://bronxbombersreport.com Craig

            They didn’t lose twice to Lee in the 2010 ALCS.
            They did lose twice to Lee in the 2009 World Series.

  • http://none Angel

    Romine,Nunez,Nova x Garza

    • It’sATarp

      garza is terrible..i wouldn’t trade anyone for him.

      • RL

        And the Rays most likely wouldn’t trade him within the division, without being significantly overpaid for him.

      • Mister Delaware

        I’m glad you aren’t our GM.

      • pete

        uh…what?

    • jt

      i would be all over this, which means therays wouldnt. esp in the division

  • Mike Myers

    Dont forget this could have been a salary dump from the dodgers cuz of the divorce. They might have just taken an “out” rather than seeing if he can still play. Lots of upside here.

  • http://twitter.com/adamhobson Adam Hobson

    I don’t think the Martin signing affects Montero at all. Regardless of recent statements, I don’t think the Yankees view Montero as a catcher long-term, and his eventual role on the team will be to replace Posada in 2012 as the DH.

    I think the prospect who will now likely be sent packing is Austin Romine. He was the actual catcher of the future. However, personally I just never saw his ceiling all that more than average. Nothing wrong with a cost-controlled average catcher, but that asset is obviously worth more to the Yankees as trade-bait than as a player. With Martin in the fold for at least two seasons (the Yanks can always extend him if he works out), the Yanks can now afford to trade Romine, and see how JR Murphy and Gary Sanchez develop over the next two years as potential catcher’s of the future, before another decision point for catcher takes place.

    In the end, offering Romine and some of their starting pitching prospect depth, the Yanks can probably nab a nice rotation piece, though definitely not an ace.

  • Rafael

    You guys need to do a RAB chat today.
    ———————————————————————–
    What’s the value of Frankie in a possible trade?

    • The Evil Umpire

      A box of Omaha steaks and a bag of baseballs.

      • Stan the Man

        Apparently the Dodgers should have asked for Omaha Steaks and a bag of baseballs for Russell Martin.

  • J

    Didn’t Kevin Long invent some drill to increase power? It’d be nice if it worked on Martin and we could get 07 Martin.

  • ZZ

    Hard to understand why so many Yankee fans think that a catcher with a sub .700 OPS the past 2 1/2 years signals that Montero is getting traded.

    • Mike Myers

      exactly. We took a shot on a catcher. It has little to do with Jesus unless he somehow gets back to being a masher.

      • A.D.

        All a move to trade Martin to the White Sox since they covet a ML ready 3B

        • http://bronxbombersreport.com Craig

          Count me in this camp. Although, I’m going to feel like I’m constantly looking over my shoulder, obsessively refreshing Yankee websites to make sure Jesus is not involved in a trade.

          That is why I came to the decision this morning that I wanted Martin to sign with someone else…just in case the Yankees are dumb enough to make a knee-jerk trade.

  • Basil F.

    Diminished power… hip problems… hmmmm
    maybe a one year contract is for the best.

    • Eric Young

      Diminished power… hip problems…

      You talking Martin or A-Rod?

  • pat

    Relying on Martin to be our primary C for 2011 would be as dumb as relying on Montero to be the primary C for 2011. Martin is currently better than Cervelli with 10x the upside. It’s pretty plain and simple.

    • Stan the Man

      How does Martin have 10x the upside with declining numbers and a serious injury issue? I am pretty sure a young inexperience catcher with a huge offensive upside can help a team win a World Series…eg. Buster Posey.

      • Jonathan

        TALENT. he is more talented in almost every aspect of the game if not every aspect. Are you actually Cervelli?

        • Stan the Man

          Your answer didn’t actually answer the question. Russell Martin didn’t have a better season than Cervelli yet he has more upside at age of 27 with 4 yrs of big league experience??? He had more upside is the correct comment but his upside hasn’t developed in the past 2 seasons. Now he has more injury concerns, less plate discipline, and a was given up for free by a team that lacks a starting catcher which also called the Yanks to inquire about getting Cervelli straight up.

          • Jonathan

            1. once again TALENT….that is what upside is about.
            2. that is because of injuries and overuse
            3. he has better plat discipline than your gf Cervelli
            4. The Dodgers were just trying to get something for nothing. Even Cervelli is better than nothing and they knew they were going to non-tender him
            5. and most of all he has a history of success in the majors, unlike Frankie.

          • pat

            Martin had the worst year of his career in 2010 and Cervelli out OPS’ed him by .015. And Martin had 39% CS to 14% for Cervelli. Martin is better even if he doesn’t revert to his 2007 form.

            • Stan the Man

              I will try answer 2 post in one. Talent isn’t upside, upside would fall under potential which most young players have. Russell Martin HAD talent but he hasn’t had talent for the past 2 seasons. He is coming off an injury at age 27 which is a concern otherwise the Dodgers would have kept him. If the Dodgers were trying to get something for nothing then why didn’t they? I mean the Yankees are a smart organization yet they kept Cervelli when they could have traded him for a better player yet they didn’t and the Dodgers ended up with nothing…strange???

              Martin is better even if he doesn’t get back to his 2007? He is so far from his 2007 form that he is comparably to a 24 yr old catcher coming off his first big league season…Martin is declining and that doesn’t make a player better. Out OPSing Cervelli by .015 makes him better? Martin is supposed to be much better and clearly isn’t much better at this point in his career.

              • jt

                seriously, are you frankies mother or something? how is it strange that the yanks wpuld rather sign russell as a fa instead of trade for him?

                • Stan the Man

                  Signing Martin as a FA isn’t strange at all and I preferred they do that instead of trading Cervelli for him. Martin isn’t the player he once was but apparently on this site everyone thinks he will become an All Star again which I do find strange.

      • Stan the Man

        btw the huge offensive upside is meant for Montero.

  • John

    Who cares? Fire Cashman.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      for serious? I honestly can’t tell today and First Name Only Male Handle Rule.

    • Mike HC

      Firing Cashman would be extreme at this point. Yanks have come up empty on everyone so far, but hopefully this is only step one to salvaging the off season. Last off season didn’t go well either I should add. Cash needs to do something.

      • Jess

        He was joking. Geez. The fact that you took that seriously scares me.

        • Mike HC

          It is so obvious that he was joking? And to be honest, Cashman’s moves have not exactly been that great recently.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I still think Montero is/will be an adequate catcher and not a 22 year old DH when Posada retires. Jorge didn’t catch a full season for us until he was 26 and was an infielder until he was 23.

    Let’s see what Martin can do with AJ’s 55 foot curveballs.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      Jorge converted to catcher during his age-19 season.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        And it’s completely mutually exclusive of Montero’s ability to catch.

      • Monteroisdinero

        maybe so but still took him quite a while to start for us at catcher. has anyone seen Jesus catch an entire game in person? I have on 3 times and I didn’t cringe nearly as many times as I did this year with Jorge and Frankie. Can’t recall any issues actually.

        • kmarx

          A lot of people have seen Jesus catch an entire game in person. For those of us that haven’t, our opinions have been shaped by scouting reports written by people that have seen several games that Jesus has caught.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            This. I have never, ever seen him catch in person. Had I seen him catch 100 games in person I still wouldn’t be a better authority on his defense then people who get paid (pretty well) to judge baseball players.

        • http://twitter.com/adamhobson Adam Hobson

          I’ve seen him catch 4 games for the Thunder two years ago. I’m not a scout so I have no idea if he was good or not at it. However, he’s 6’4″, 225 and looks even bigger in person (not fat, just large) and it can’t be good for a man that size to physically perform the act of catching for 120+ games a year.

          I’m less worried about his defense and more worried about ruining his knees/back/body and losing that superb bat.

          • Sweet Dick Willie

            Joe Mauer

            6’5″ 230lbs (from b-ref)

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

              Joe Mauer=outlier

              And it’s not just size, it’s body type. Again, I think none of us are experts, I think the professionals know more about it than we do.

            • http://twitter.com/adamhobson Adam Hobson

              Joe Mauer is quite an outlier, he’s also a completely different body type than Montero. Mauer is much more athletic. If Mauer would move from catcher (there’s already been many calls for it) he’d likely move to 3rd — he’s that athletic. Montero is not.

              Outside of a single year, Mauer has failed to develop the consistent 15+ HR/year power that many predicted. The aches and pains of every day catching certainly could have contributed. Mauer is also limited to catching a little over 100 games a year now, as the Twins realize that using him every day at catcher would only wear him down faster and diminish his exceptional bat.

      • Stan the Man

        and he sucked ever since.

  • jim p

    I see Martin has also played some third base. So, if his bat is decent enough, there are days when we can have Jorge catch (they will give him some games I’m sure), and A-Rod DH.

    If Montero works his way into starting, we have Martin for late-game defense or again to rest A-Rod in a lopsided game.

    • RL

      I see Martin has also played some third base

      Trade Nunez & Pena.

    • Graig not Craig

      A-Rod and R-Mart = The Hipsters

  • TJ

    I don’t think we can say that Cash won’t trade Jesus when he already tried to once. The problem is that no one is going to let an Ace just walk off or go for nothing.

    Yanks should stand pat and continue to devlop their starters from within. Hughes is an excellent starter bu they botched Joba, and I still think he can be a starter and still might get a chance.

    Right now, and even next year, the free agent market offers little to choose from. The typical high risk, low short term contract potential high reward types are out there. The Webbs and so on.

    The best talent left is bullpen arms. And with the money the Yanks have left they should load that up best they can and allow Joba to be the fifth starter and leave him alone for a year or two. If Andy retires then we have some real trouble and may have to sign a warm body to go with Joba.

    Or Just keep Joba as the 4th and go with Mitre/Nova as the fifth. Keep Montero, keep all the young talent and develop them. The Yanks should also use the fifth spot to try out new arms from AAA during the year. Lets see what some of the kids can do. When compared to what’s available, they mad do just the same as any other warm body.

    If they are going to spend, then do so on proven quality bullpen arms, with the starters they have they are going to need them.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      I don’t think we can say that Cash won’t trade Jesus when he already tried to once.

      It was actually twice. For Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, two of the best pitchers in baseball. Those are special cases. Cash isn’t going to trade Montero for Gavin Floyd, but would he consider it for a bonafide ace? He’d be stupid not to at least consider it.

    • Graig not Craig

      Will somebody – ANYBODY – please explain the illogical obsession some people have with Joba starting? Why do such sentiments pop up in nearly every thread on RAB? The article is about the signing of Russ Martin. What on earth does this have to do with Joba starting? Stop the nonsense already.

      • Hughesus Christo

        Team Joba is a movement, not an obsession.

        • Graig not Craig

          Maybe if Joba had more movement in his pitches he’d still be a starter.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Explain why it’s illogical.

        • pete

          I don’t think it’s illogical, just inconsistent. If you have faith in the yanks’ FO, then you presumably believe they know something we don’t about his arm – maybe it hasn’t fully or can’t fully recover from the 2008 injury, when everything went to shit for him. If you believe this, then it’s silly to keep asking for him to start again, when if the FO, which probably knows his arm better than we do, felt he could, then he would. If you don’t have faith in the FO, then it makes perfect sense to want him to start again, because you don’t feel his being in the bullpen is based on good enough rationale.

  • Andrew Brotherton

    We are already a better team. Russell Martin+Jesus Montero-now if we can only get Andy Pettite back and we are even better then the year we won the championship.

  • David

    The Yankees’ plan is proceeding well.

    Step One: Sign Russel Martin. (Item Complete)
    Step Three: Win World Series!

    • Betty Lizard

      I bet Step Two is a bitch.

  • YankeesJunkie

    Yankees got better today plain and simple. Martin has not put up much in the way of offensive numbers, but his defense is above average, he can play every day, and has posted a 2 WAR seasons the last two years. If the Yankees keep Montero that takes a lot of pressure off him to be a superstar right away.

  • http://www.coblueshirts.blogspot.com Canyon of Blueshirts

    Even a bad R-Mart will outhid Cervelli. Plus he’s actually capable of throwing a runner out. Good move.

    • Stan the Man

      Outside of the 5 hr’s Martin hit last year how has he outhit Cervelli? Cervelli has better offensive numbers in all areas but home runs…just saying.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Cervelli started 80 games. Give Cervelli 120+ starts and he’d be further exposed and likely more worn down as a full time catcher. Cervelli’s upside is that of a backup catcher. Martin’s is an All-Star catcher, which he has already been, and he’s young.

        • Stan the Man

          I agree Cervelli is best used as a back up but Martin’s all-star days could very well be over with. Martin at this point in his career is putting up back up catcher numbers and has legitimate injury concerns at age 27 which Cervelli doesn’t have.

          Martin could bounce back but his decline is pretty significant and if the Dodgers felt he could regain that form that wouldn’t have non-tendered him.

      • Jonathan

        CERVELLI’s terrible overall line was aided by a TON of luck early in the season. His walk rate and iso were below martin.

        • Stan the Man

          Russell Martin 12.4% BB, 18.4% K, .085 ISO, .287 BABIP, 92 RC
          salary $5mill

          Francisco Cervelli 10.8% BB, 15.8% K, .064 ISO, .316 BABIP, 94 RC
          salary $410K

          I wouldn’t consider these numbers a huge upgrade on their face value and yet Martin still costs more, coming off a significant injury, and 2 declining seasons. Cervelli is more likely to bounce back from a poor defensive season than Martin is to bounce back from consecutive offensive declines.

          • Jonathan

            HE DOESN’T HAVE TO BOUNCE BACK! he’s already better than him at his worst, and his defense doesn’t have to go anywhere. how ignorant do you have to be to see clear evidence one player is better than the other, and even site stats to prove it, then deny it?

            FOR THE LAST TIME: Cervelli’s stats are aided by a fluke jump in BABIP and HBP at the start of the season. And he still doesn’t measure up. Not to mention the WAR difference and taking into account more than last year and the fact that scouts never thought anything of Cervelli. He doesn’t have a hidden tool we haven’t seen yet. This is it.

            • Stan the Man

              I do find it funny that any time Cervelli was a productive last year it was a fluke but it isn’t a fluke that Martin has been slightly better than a back up catcher for the past 2 seasons.

              Cervelli is a back up catcher and literally was the replacement player for Posada yet Cervelli was a 1.1 WAR and Martin was a 2.1 WAR. Do you really think having a starting catcher 1.0 WAR difference is a significant upgrade? Shouldn’t the starting catcher be a bit better than the back up?

              The only reason this deal makes sense is if they plan on starting Montero who actually has huge upside offensively to both players.

              • Jeremy

                You are arguing with ignorant people, you should expect ignorant responses.

  • Mike HC

    I like this move a lot better knowing now that we didn’t get Lee. At the very least, we need to create some surpluses so we can trade for starting pitching.

  • Russell NY

    Here’s hoping Martin bounces back and Lee trips on the mound. And that his wife can dodge beers from the upper deck.

    • Graig not Craig

      “Philthy fans are still on the naughty list.” – Santa Claus

    • Philthy65

      dodge beers what about vomit?

      • dennis

        i vote for large buckets of raw sewage. It will remind her of arkansas. Also a “pussy whiped” chant would be great.

  • Thomas

    Anyone else think R-Mart is an awful nickname and should not be used?

    • Stan the Man

      agreed.

  • Mike HC

    Do you think the Yanks sought out Torre for his opinion of Martin? Or is the Torre, Yanks relationship still not at that point.

    • Mike Myers

      Maybe torre told them to get Martin to fool the yanks. Ticking time bomb via mail.

  • http://bloodfarm.tumblr.com matt damon wayans

    The Red Sox really wanted Martin, maybe the Yankees are getting him to pull off a Martin for Lester swap.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Prototypical catcher body:

    short/fat/blubbery/slow

    /Molina brothers

  • Reggie C.

    Only second best move of offseason to date.

    Nothing tops the Rafael DePaula signing.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Russell Nathan Coltrane Jeanson Martin.

    Sterling will love it!

  • Peter

    Stop with this Joba nonsense, He is a not a starter, no offspeed pitches, straight fastball and no groundout pitch like a cutter or sinker, if you put him in the rotation its gonna be a disaster, he’ll probably throw 100 pitches in 3 innings every game, if you think Hughes had problems to put away batters can you imagine Joba in his current state?

    • nathan

      Dont you want to find out before you sign some mediocre FA?

  • nathan

    Well, I dont think Martin getting signed is death knell for Montero simply because Martin has to prove he is over his health issues. I dont even know what to expect out of Martin. Certainly 2009-2010 numbers is what we should bank on given the hip problems.

    I do think 1 or 2 of our catching prospects will be gone. I profess no idea who will have the better career Montero or Romine. I hope the Yanks FO makes the right call. The Braves did that when they kept McAnn and traded Salty.

    The Vazquez trade continues to bite us. If we had Arodys I think we can include Arodys and one of the killer B’s and Romine and get a top 15 pitcher.

    • Jess

      Nobody is touching Arodys Vizcaino until they know that elbow he tore during the season won’t need surgery. He is a Tommy John waiting to happen. While Javy was a disaster, that pick might end up be worth far more than Arodys.

      Please tell me what top 15 pitcher you are trading for anyway?

      • nathan

        I dont have a name. I would have given that if I had one. But I am telling with a quality package like that we could have gotten a quality return.

        Btw, we cant assume Arodys would have gotten hurt with the Yanks.

        I just was never in love with the Javy trade. I didnt think he would bomb like that, but i thought we gave up too much.

  • Jeff P

    I live in LA and get to see a lot of Dodger games, and while I like this move I’m not too excited as he is basically a Montero stop gap. Provided he is recovered from his hip injury he can handle an every day role until Montero is ready. He certainly has value defensively (31% throwing runners out) and drawing walks, but his power evaporated the day after the Mitchell Report came out and it’s never coming back.

  • DanMizer

    this is terrible news For Posadas future.

    Martin, Posada and Montero will be on the 2011 roster.. Posada full-time DH while martin and Montero switch off at C while Montero also fills in at DH.

    Next year Posada will be a free agent(correct?) -Move Montero to full-time DH and occasional backup C, while Martin (arb elig) will catch for the yankees

    this is if Martin can regain his health and form.

    I bet this is the idea of replacing Posada after this upcoming season.

    • Jess

      Posada was gone next year anyway.

    • beef

      what future? he’s VERY OLD WITH CRANKY KNEES!

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals

        who still hits very well and plays C better than Nick Swisher.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      I bet this is the idea of replacing Posada after this upcoming season.

      Well yeah – he’s old and can’t really catch any more

    • pete

      Posada had no future with the Yanks beyond 2011. I would be willing to bet, though, that if he wants to play next year, he’ll have no trouble finding an offer somewhere else to DH.

      • MikeD

        All evidence last year showed that Posada can still hit. He was OPS+ing along in the 120 range until he tanked after the concussion. His bat speed is still there and he can still turn on a pitch, as we saw against the Rays with his 450-foot HR to center in September. Most of his slumps this year were tied to an increasing number of nagging injuries he accumulated as the season went along, so a move to the DH slot should keep him healthy. I’m sure he could DH 145+ games if they only restrict him to DH, but I’m guessing he might DH about 130 games as the Yankees will want to rest A-Rod from time to time, and Jeter too, without taking them out of the lineup.

        Bottom line, a .270/.365/.475 line with 22 or so HRs is reachable for Posada as a DH. So if he does that, why in the world would Posada even think of retiring? The Yankees may not need him, but a DH who can produce that line and serve as a back-up catcher, who is a switch hitter and has name value will have offers.

        I don’t see Jorge getting so wrapped up in the “I only want to wear a Yankee uniform” approach of Bernie and Jeter and Mo. I think he’ll want to play and make a few million more. Plus, he’ll increase his chances at the HOF if he can get up over 300 career HRs. I hope he decides to continue to play, even if it’s not for the Yankees.

  • DanMizer

    I really hope they do not trade Montero away. god i want to see this kid play.

  • Jasphil

    Turning the page and getting younger. Smart.