The Russell Martin Appreciation Thread

Mariano Rivera and the quiet pursuit of history
The differences between Sabathia and Verlander

The regular season is slowly winding down, and the Yankees are just any combination of 14 wins or Rays losses away from clinching a postseason berth. With 23 games to go, they’re sitting in a pretty great spot, and it’s time to start paying homage to those that helped get them here.

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

A little less than a year ago, the Yankees had a choice to make. Actually, it was probably more than a year ago, but the exact time from is not important. Jorge Posada was no longer a viable everyday catcher as he approached his 40th birthday, so for the first time in more than a decade, the Yankees had a hole behind the plate. They could have handed the job to Frankie Cervelli or Jesus Montero, but they instead opted for some experience, inking Russell Martin to a one-year deal worth $4M after the Dodgers non-tendered him.

Martin started the season on absolute fire, hitting six homers with a .333/.410/.722 batting line through the team’s first 16 games, more homers than he hit during the entire 2010 season. The Yankees’ new backstop kept hitting through mid-May (.270/.367/.511 on May 24th), but then he fell into a slump that saw him hit just .147/.261/.200 heading into the All-Star break. Martin was elected to the AL All-Star Team despite his .220/.323/.384 first half performance, but he did not play in the game and it seems like the three days of rest helped rejuvenate him.

In 49 team games since the break, Martin has hit a very respectable .264/.327/.464 with seven homers in 156 plate appearances. He’s already gone deep more times this season than he did in 2009 and 2010 combined (12), and he’s just two away from his career high of 19, set in 2007. With his season batting line sitting at .239/.326/.418 (.331 wOBA), Martin has been middle of the pack offensively among all backstops with at least 300 plate appearances. He’s made up for the lack of average by drawing walks (10.5% of plate appearances) and hitting for power (.178 ISO) while also chipping in on the basepaths (8-for-9 in stolen base attempts).

Furthermore, Martin’s been something of a revelation behind the plate. Granted, our defensive standards for catchers probably weren’t all that high after watching Posada for all those years, but I think Martin has been better than expected at blocking balls in the dirt and especially at framing pitches. Max Marchi ran some numbers at The Hardball Times earlier this year and found that Russ is one of the best at framing pitches, improving the chances of a borderline pitch being called a strike by roughly 20%. Add in a 30.8% success rate of throwing out basestealers (the highest by a Yankees starting catcher in a long, long time), and you’ve got a rock solid, all-around catcher at the bottom of the order.

Last week’s go-ahead double against the Red Sox was almost certainly the biggest moment of the season for Martin, but it was hardly the extent of his contributions. He’s given the Yankees some production with the bat and some comfort behind the plate while fitting right into the clubhouse. I won’t even bother trying to quantify his effect on the pitching staff because I don’t think anyone knows how to accurately do that, but I think it’s safe to say he’s been a positive in that department too. Martin was not expected to be a savior coming into the season and he hasn’t been, but I think he’s exceeded expectations and been a surprisingly key contributor to a team that started the year with so many question marks.

Mariano Rivera and the quiet pursuit of history
The differences between Sabathia and Verlander
  • jon

    Martin is one of the best all around catchers when healthy

    I think spitting the time with jesus next year could be a big help for him

    • Gabe

      Totally agree. A great catching platoon, on one you have some of the best defense you can find behind the plate, and on the other, a big hitter.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    IMO, Martin is the primary reason for the success of the pitching staff from top to bottom. He does a great job back there. He can hit and hit with power, has been clutch and he can run. He’s the exact opposite of Jorge.

    I really hope that Montero can learn a new position, although I have no idea where it would be. But to have a catching combo of Martin and Cervelli and Montero as a 3rd choice at C then also DH, 1B or OF??? That lineup would be deep and sick.

    • Rainbow Connection

      “IMO, Martin is the primary reason for the success of the pitching staff from top to bottom.”

      From top to bottom? So you’re saying AJ and Hughes have been successful?

  • Cris Pengiuci

    A great pick up by Cashman and crew. Well worth the money spent. Pick up his option (or is it Arb?) and have him work with Montero to determine if he can be a MLB caliber catcher.

  • Truth

    I agree,Russ has been good. My only thought is do we bring him back? Simple answer is yes but you have to believe the yankees want Jesus behind the plate as much as possible next hear. Will Russell be coop with riding the bench?

    • Cy Pettitte

      I think they should bring Martin back and have him catch around 100 of the games and Montero 60. Martin’s offense/health might be better with a few more off days and it lets Montero work in slowly and get comfortable. With Posada gone they can carry 3 catchers without having a short bench so Montero can DH on days he isn’t catching.

      • Jesse

        That’d be the smartest way to go in my eye.

      • MannyGeee

        This. Martin has proven him self valuable this season, but he has also proven that he could use the re-coup time considering whenever possible…

      • MattG

        I’d go one step further. I’d be very receptive to having Martin around for the next 3 years, with an option on a 4th. With apologies to Romine and Cervelli, I don’t think the Yankees really have a candidate in the organization for a two-way catcher in that time frame. I’m not sure that Romine’s ceiling is equal to what Martin is now.

        Worst case, if Romine does develop that way, he becomes premium trade bait, with Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy coming up behind him (and didn’t the Yanks sign another IFA catcher recently?).

        Of course, with Martin arb-elig, there is no need to do anything until the off-season next year, but I like having this guy around.

        • Billy

          Three to four years is an awfully long time given Russ’ track record. I think the Yankees have been blessed by him not getting the injury bug.

          • MannyGeee

            same arguement could have been made for AJ, and all he’s done is give us three injury free (albeit relatively shitty) 200-IP seasons…

          • Ted Nelson

            I agree that it’s a risk, but at the same time Martin’s game totals before 2010 were 151, 155, 143… That means he’s had a lot of wear, but it also means he’s durable and plays through pain. The guy has been injured for a significant stretch exactly one season, so expecting him to get injured every season seems foolish to me.

        • Ed

          Catchers tend to start declining fast once they hit their 30s. Martin has already had injury issues, so I wouldn’t want to bet on him long term.

    • Rainbow Connection

      “you have to believe the yankees want Jesus behind the plate as much as possible next hear”

      I think you’re the only person that is believing that. Why would they want a bad catcher behind the plate as much as possible, when they can DH him and still have a good catcher?

      • Ted Nelson

        Only reason would be if DH X + C Montero > DH Montero + C Martin… Probably not the case.

  • Truth

    I agree,Russ has been good. My only thought is do we bring him back? Simple answer is yes but you have to believe the yankees want Jesus behind the plate as much as possible next hear. Will Russell be coop with riding the bench? B

  • Jesse

    Russell has been a great pickup. I’m not that surprised his homers are up, just because he’s playing half of his games in a homer friendly, to say the least, park, and the fact he has probably the best hitting coach in baseball. But what I am surprised with is his defense. I knew he was good, but not this good. My God. The guy frames pitches well, has an absolute gun behind the plate, and it seems like every pitcher that throws to him seems to get along. He’s got to be the bargain sign of the year. Sure Colon and Garcia can make a case, but Martin takes the cake in my eye.

    So with that in mind, the Yankees will obviously keep him around for next year. How long though? 1 year? 2 years? Even more?!

    • MannyGeee

      you keep him around for as long as he adds value to this team. case closed

      • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

        If it were that simple then Posada would already be gone, ARod’s contract would be shorter, and and and…

        It’s value to team *at a price* and adequately weighing same against alternatives.

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, long-term contracts throw a wrench in it…

        • MannyGeee

          wellll, both Posada and A-Rod had the team over a barrel when they signed their deals.

          With Montero & Cervelli under team control and a plethora of catching prospects coming up the pipeline Martin will not have the same luxury.

          But your point is well made, as long as he ADDS VALUE (at a palatable value) then he should be in pinstripes

          • Ted Nelson

            The issue that you don’t seem to be considering is that he can walk after 2012. He might still add value to the Yankees, but another team might come in with a 3+ year contract at big money. No one thinks the Yankees should let Martin walk if he’s cheap. The tough questions are what value he has and how to deal with his impending 2012 free agency. That’s why I don’t understand your simplistic explanation. If he’s got a 3, 4, or 5 year deal on the table after 2012 the question is no longer what value he brings short-term, but long-term. This is also part of why A-Rod and Jorge got such big deals, and why so many free agents get overpaid long-term every single year.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    But, but…..Jorge is a legendary Yankee catcher!

    And we should always let legends bring down the rest of the team in order to maintain some foolish link to the good ole days!

    • Jorge

      Jorge Posada’s contract, and Yankee career, will be up at the end of this season. He hasn’t been kept around for, as you’d call it, a link to the good ole days. He has finished out his guaranteed contract in a continually diminishing role. He’s brought down the team so much that they are currently in first place.

      Also, anyone calling 1996-2000 “The good ole days” must be 12.

      • LiterallyFigurative

        Please tell me you noted the sarcasm……

        • Ted Nelson

          I didn’t really know what to make of your comment, honestly.

        • Jesse

          I got the sarcasm after the first but.

    • MikeD

      What are you talking about?

  • joe

    100% bring him back, final year of arbitration so he won’t be that cheep, but a 1 year deal is awesome, and if jesus, or even romine, seem fit and FULLY capable to handle the catching duties full time, we can see Martin as beeing big time trade bait for someone in need of a catcher (is he going to be a type a or type b fa after next tear?)

    And if the youngsters aren’t ready then Romine would be trade bait and Martin gets a multiyear deal.

    Regardless I’m happy with out catching situation.

  • MattG

    I knew Posada was horrible at framing pitches, but going from one of the worst to one of the best is a bigger change than I would’ve believed.

    I also did not expect this sort of agility in the dirt.

    The isoP only surprises me a little.

    But there is bad, too. I was expecting at least a .340 OBP. I suppose the isoD is fine, so that OBP might be fueled by bad luck.

    How dare he have bad luck?

  • Monteroisdinero

    Monteromaybedinero but Martinain’tdepartin’ for 2 more years.

    AJ Burnett

    • MikeD

      Interestingly, AJ has pitched as poorly with Martin as he did with Cervelli/Posada. He led the league in wild pitches last year, and he is once again this year, and already has three more than all of last season.

      I’m not noting this as a knock against Martin, who has been a plus. It just shows how poorly AJ has pitched for two years.

      Unless AJ turns it around, I think he’ll be banished to the pen sometime in 2012 and will not be on the Yankees in 2013.

  • Nick

    “Furthermore, Martin’s been something of a revelation behind the plate. Granted, our defensive standards for catchers probably weren’t all that high after watching Cervelli for what felt like years…”

    fixed that for you

  • OldYanksFan

    One wonders about Martin’s overall contributions, looking at his .750ish OPS compared to Posada’s .850 OPS. Looking at Defense, other Catching skills and running, my guess is their overall performance is closer then we might think.

    Piazza had a robust OPS+/wOBA of 142/.389 compared to a middling I-Rod at 106/.343. Looking at offense alone, one would think Piazaa was a far, far more productive player. Yet…

    Piazza (16 yrs) 3.7 bWAR/yr – 4.1 bWAR/yr – 23% CS
    I-Rod (21 yrs) 3.2 bWAR/yr – 3.5 bWAR/yr – 45% CS

    makes them look a lot closer.

    • Ted Nelson

      You can go even deeper, and consider the widespread allegations that Pudge called a disproportionate number of fastballs with men on to inflate his CS% numbers… possibly hurting his team in the process.

      Defense is definitely important and not all of Cing defense is easy to quantify (especially pitch-calling and overall impact on pitching staff). Jorge was just a beast from 2000-7: 4.6 bWAR and 4.7 fWAR per season compared to Martin’s ~1.5 bWAR and ~3 fWAR (with some time left in the season). I could see an argument that his impact on the pitching staff makes up for that… but it’s far from certain.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        Yeah Pudge’s CS numbers are largely inflated in in the last half of his career. He still had an alltime great arm but you’re not the only one who remembers him calling a shitload of high fastballs with a runner on first, rather than focusing on getting out of the inning. I do recall pitchers saying that Piazza was easy to work with. His shittastic arm tends to overshadow the other aspects of his defensive game.

  • MannyGeee

    Martin Appreciation Thread, pfft…. Martin didn’t even hit 2 homeruns yesterday! What Gives!!


  • Bavarian Yankee

    Martin’s been great so far. I think he’ll be our C next year, too. Jesus should be his back-up and DH most of the other games.

  • YankeesJunkie

    I feel that Martin has been undervalued as a catcher by fans because he does not put up numbers that Jorge did offensively the previous decade. However, he plays at position that does not require that much offensive output to become a relatively valuable catcher. The Yankees would be losing a lot value if they do not keep Martin for at least another year as he can be a 3 WAR catcher and brings defensive stability where we do not know about Montero’s defense ability, but he will most likely won’t be as good as Martin.

  • Filppula51

    Martins a beauty great canadian boy their stupid if they don’t bring him back very very good player and I think he’s just going to get better

  • Filppula51

    Martins a beauty great canadian boy their stupid if they don’t bring him back very very good player and I think he’s just going to get better.

    • li kevin

      Again with this gobbledygook?

  • A-Rod’s Wingman

    I’d be fine with singing him to a two year deal in the offseason. I’m pretty bearish on Montero being a Fulltime catcher and Romine hasn’t distinguished himself with the bat, so I’m totally up for two more years of Martin.

    • Ted Nelson

      Does Martin take a two year deal (and at what $), or play out his final season to hit the open market after his 29 year old season?

      • Jimmy McNulty

        Not sure, Ted. They definitely have him on the hook for next season. How much does he think he can get on the open market? Doumit will likely be a free agent this year or next (MLBTR thinks the Bucs will decline his option), and when Martin hits the open market he’ll be competing with Mike Napoli, MIguel Montero, and maybe Chris Iannetta. So what teams would be willing to give him a two or three year deal then? If the Yankees offer him a 2/20 deal can he really turn it down then? I’m not sure.

        • Cris Pengiuci

          Can’t believe he’d turn down 1 2/20 offer. However, I feel that 2/13-16 is more in line with what he’d get on the open market.

          • Cris Pengiuci

            * turn down a 2/20 offer

          • CountZero

            Agreed — 2x$10MM is an overpay IMO. I think 3x$7MM gets it done — nearly the same total value and you get an additional year. If you go 2x$7MM, I think you’ll have to include a player option or a team option with a buyout.

            The injury fear has to be in his mind too — as such, the term will be the most important factor.

            • Dan

              I agree that a three year deal would be wise, the only question is would Martin accept the deal when he might see that by the end of that deal Montero could be the primary catcher with him as the backup and then he would be heading into free agency at age 31 with very little leverage for a decent contract. He might prefer a two year deal so that he still might be sharing more time with Montero. I would think in three years either Montero will be the full-time catcher or the Yankees will give Martin another contract to be the primary catcher.

        • MannyGeee

          here’s the question. was 2011 an outlier for Martin? OK we know he is a really good catcher defensively, and we know he can hit (in stretches). the pitchers love him and he seems to be a good teammate. but the injury history is very hard to ignore.

          too many wildcards for the Yankees to consider making a multi year pact with him. got to go through arb process this season and make a more rational decision with more data collected next year.

          • Ted Nelson

            2011 is probably going to be the 2nd or at most 3rd lowest games played of Martin’s career. Injuries may have limited him in past seasons, but the guy played 151, 155, and 143 games before the 97 games he played in injury-shortened 2010.

            The flip-side to your argument is that when you make “a more rational decision” after another season… Martin’s price might sky-rocket when he hits free agency. The arb route could prevent you from paying him or paying him as much in 2013 if he’s injured in 2012, but it could also prevent you from paying him a lower salary in 2013 than you end up having to pay in free agency… or prevent you from losing him in free agency and hoping your young Cs (one of whom has been an average AA hitter for two straight seasons) come through.

            I’m not arguing against you… just saying that there is a counter argument that you don’t seem to be allowing for in your comments.

      • CountZero

        Good Q. I think it takes 3+ to get him to give up FA at age 29. The money doesn’t have to be huge, but the guarantee has to be more than 2. If you take a look around the league, a good defensive C who provides any offense worth speaking of is a commodity in short supply.

  • Uncle Mike

    Martin has done everything we’ve asked of him these last 5 months, and has gotten what could turn out to be the biggest hit of the regular season. Absolutely, he should be brought back next season, with Montero getting his feet wet as catcher but Martin staying the starter for the time being.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Even though his offensive statistics aren’t near what we usually got from Jorge in his normal years, Posada’s regression as a catcher AND a hitter last year made this move a no-brainer.

    All the little things that Russ brings to the table have been so valuable this year.

    He blocks the pitches in the dirt, he frames pitches, he doesn’t drop the foul tips Posada would drop (saving pitchers from throwing more pitches in an AB), he’s more athletic, allowing him to get to balls that slightly get away quicker than Posada, he throws out runners way better than Posada, he’s faster on the bases.

    All these things might not be easily calculated to runs saved and scored, but they are important and help win a game 5-4, as opposed to losing the game 4-5.

    Way to go Cashman!

  • Monteroisdinero

    I also love the scowl Martin gave Showalter last week when they tried to steal on him. No fist pump-just a subtle stare down.

  • Jorge

    Agree with everything said here. He should be back next year and begin to work Montero into the catcher’s role. After that, you take a hard look at where Romine and Murphy are and proceed accordingly.

  • steve s

    Martin’s been great (in a Rick Cerone kind of way). With all the minor league catching talent lining-up though I’d go year to year with Martin.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Two potential issues:

    1) Does Russell see his value as a 1-2 year deal worth $7-8 mil per? Or does he want a 4 year deal? And if a team were to offer him that compensation, would the Yanks go there to secure him? Especially with Org catching depth.

    2) Would Martin WANT to share the playing time (something like a 2-1 split) with Jesus, as opposed to being the unquestioned #1 catcher (125-130 games per). He seems to be a team guy, but he’s still quite young to have been in the league so long, and maybe he wants his prime years spent being THE guy.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      1.) Well if it’s the former, then absolutely give him 2/16. He’s easily worth that and provides a great insurance policy for Romine and allows Montero to still catch maybe 60ish games a year.

      2.) I would say he would be fine splitting time. He was ran into the ground in LA which cost him millions, at the very least he should be satisfied with catching 2/3s of the team games. Look at his PT in LA, shit was insane.

    • Ted Nelson

      Not sure what time frame you are referring to. Martin is not a free agent after this season unless the Yankees decline to offer him arb. The Yankees can try to get him re-signed for longer than 2012 if they want/can, or they can bring him back for 2012 and then let him hit the open market after the 2012 season.

    • Cris Pengiuci

      Looking at recent deals for catchers, there seem to be very few longer than 2 or 3 years. He may want a 4 year deal, but I suspect very few (if any) teams will offer that. From a Yankee perspective, if they feel that Montero (after the 2012 seaseon) doesn’t appear to be a full time C and the others on the farm aren’t ready, then offer Martin a 2-year deal. At 31 (if my math is correct), 2 years is plenty.

      • Ted Nelson

        Only one even remotely comparable to Martin after 2012 (assuming he stays relatively healthy in 2012) is John Buck. And he only had one good season under his belt, compared to like 4 for Martin. So, I don’t know that the recent FA market tells the whole story. Most of the Cs who have hit FA the last few years have been old back-ups.

        • Ted Nelson

          I meant the only recent FA comparable to the free agent Martin will be after 2012 was Joe Buck after 2010….

          • MannyGeee

            not even then… Martin has a lot more value than Buck, which kinda scares me because Buck is not exactly lighting the world on fire in Miami. Sure, hes a nice player and relatively durable, but hes no Joe Mauer…

            • Ted Nelson

              This is why people are wondering if it would behoove the Yankees to re-sign Martin to an extension this offseason that goes beyond 2012, and also wondering what it would take to reach a deal both sides would sign off on. Yankees would be able to avoid the possibility of Martin hitting free agency and getting a huge offer they’d either have to match or face the possibility that Montero might be a DH and Romine might be a back-up… While Martin would avoid the possibility of getting hurt and/or having a crap 2012… At the same time, of course, both sides would be assuming the opposite risk.

  • Tom Swift

    I don’t want Martin catching for the Red Sox. Sign him to a 4 year deal. If we don’t need him, trade him to the NL.

    • Jesse

      Nah, he’s not going to Bahhstin. They got captain V-Tek, Salty, and Ryan Lavahhhhnway waiting in the wings!!


    • jsbrendog

      thank god youre not running the yankees

    • MannyGeee

      George? George is that you?

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    I applauded the signing of Russell Martin from the very beginning. He has the offensive tools coupled with the desire to put defense first in his mind, makes me a happy fan.

    IMHO, Girardi must find the formula for play and rest for Martin. His offense suffers as all catchers show over the course of the season. This formula may offer for Montero away to improve his skills behind the plate while DH as his other full time gig. While catching it will allow players such as Jeter and Arod the half day off during the week with a full day off given to Nunez or whomever is slated for this spot next year.

    Montero has not caught his first big league game. So his time frame for full time is still in question. I can see Russell option being picked up without any issue 5/6 million for a first string excellent defense , good bat catcher is cheap.

    Cashman when allowed to and without interference has made some excellent choices, filling in the parts needed to compete for the big prize at years end.

  • whocarestom

    The Yankees would be foolish to not at least attempt to resign Martin, at least in the short term. He’d come cheap, I think. A Montero/Martin split for the next two years seems ideal, if Martin is willing to sign a long term contract and doesn’t mind splitting playing time with the Jesus.

    • YankeesJunkie

      Well he is arb eligible next year so no reason not to spend money to keep him.

  • Gonzo

    By my rough count, Russell’s total comp for this year is 5.075mm with some more 75k bonuses coming his way depending on GS’d.

    What do you think his arb number will be for next year? $7mm+?

    • MannyGeee

      I had him at about $7M… and I would give $7M to him all day long, son.

  • Rob in CT

    I was pleased with the pickup, but I was expecting more OBP and less SLG. Funny how it works out. I’m sold on his defensive ability, I like his baserunning and I’d be happy to have him back. Even if the team is determined to have Montero catch, he should be eased into the role (sorry, Frankie C.).

  • Cuso

    You could do a lot worse than carrying Martin, Montero AND Cervelli next year, you know?

    Martin catches 100 G, Montero 30, Cervelli 30.

    On days that Montero doesn’t catch, you have him DH.

    On days that Montero doesn’t DH, you can use the DH spot to give half days off to A-Rod, Jeter and Tex.

    Obviously, Montero won’t be the DH EVERY day he doesn’t catch. But a majority of them would be nice.

    • Jesse

      Ehh, I’d like it to see 40/20 in favor of Montero next year. But whatever.

    • Cris Pengiuci

      I see the Yankees looking to get a good return for Cervelli in a trade, but if that return doesn’t show up, I have no issue with him returning and splitting C time with Montero when Martin gets a day off. Just not sure of the % each should get. Hopefully Montero shows enough defense to get mre time than Frankie.

      • LarryM.,Fl.

        My problem with Montero splitting time with Cervelli is the delay in determining if Montero can cut it as a catcher. 40 games or fifty games is for seasoning of his ability to catch. With Romine and Murphy developing in the minors, Cervelli could be traded to a team weak on catching for some part for us. Martin will eventually wear down or move on especially if the Yanks have depth moving up and if Montero develops behind the plate.

        Montero needs another position to play not during the season with a DH but come playoff time. Its either catcher or corner infield and I don’t see if learning 3rd or 1st in the big leagues. His bat is major league ready, now. So, more time behind the plate is the answer not 30 games a year at this point. Sorry Frankie. The Yanks may send him to winter ball for some work at the corners but I would be nervous about injury.

      • David, Jr.

        Apparently they nearly had a deal for Cervelli in place with Pittsburgh for Brad Lincoln. That might mean that they believe that Montero is ready this year to catch as a backup to Martin.

        • LarryM.,Fl.

          You could be absolutely correct. How bad can the kid be? His bat would make up for all his short comings. But, how will catching affect his bat? Joe Mauer prime example. Maybe catching is his only position?

          I still want him playing everyday, now and on the roster for the playoffs this year.

        • MannyGeee

          back up cacthers are easy to come by. if you can trade one for a pitcher with promise, you make that deal all day. And believe it or not, i would bank that Cervelli could start for about 15 teams right now, even some teams in the AL East.

          I would expect this same kind of deal to culminate this winter at some point.

  • Jeff in LA

    I was a sceptic at the beginning after watchin him stink up the joint with the Dodgers, but I’m sold. I think his offensive numbers will always fluctuate pretty widely as he has a tendency to wear down (not unusual for a catcher). But his athleticism and defense are a welcome addition behind the plate and he appears to trail only Swisher in the having fun department.

    • Woodrow Sweats


  • MannyB ace2be

    How many games did montero play in trip a this year? I’m sure the yanks won’t increase his workload a crazy amount in his first full MLB season

    • Jesse

      He played 107 in AAA. 88 behind the plate, and 19 at DH.
      And I don’t think it really matters with his workload next year because he’ll probably catch fewer games next year than he did this year in AAA, and the majority of the game he won’t catch next year he’ll DH.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Montero will be a better catcher than everyone thinks. The baby fat is melting away….

    • David, Jr.

      You are exactly right. When he catches for the Yankees, people will say “What was all of that bullshit about?”.

  • joeman

    so it is a given we will resign russell for next year, but why is everyone so quick to pull the trigger on a multi year deal? Why cant we see what happens after next year regarding how he plays AND how montero and romine play. Haven’t numerous reports stated romine will eventually be a major league regular? And after next year he’ll have a full season of AAA in (although that doesnt always warrent a call up apprently i.e. montero this year)Now if you give russell a mulit year deal, IMO you gotta trade away romine, someone who has high promise and had a pretty good year in AA

    • Monteroisdinero

      This. One more year for Russell and then go forward with the Venezuelan tag team of Montero and Cervelli.

      Between them they will hit 35 HR’s a year.

      Cervelli will hit 2 of them.

      • Ted Nelson

        As a huge Jesus fan, I’d think you’d want him splitting time at C with someone better than Cervelli. Cing takes a toll on the body. Granted his offensive #s will be viewed more favorably as a C, but there’s a pretty good chance he could extend his career and maybe produce more annually with less games behind the plate.

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s certainly an option to let Martin play out 2012 and see how things progress with him, Montero, Cervelli, Romine, Murphy, Sanchez, etc.

      However, the argument for locking Martin up for a few years is that if you let him hit free agency after 2012 some team might blow him away with a huge multi-year deal. C talent is really scarce. John bloody Buck got 3 years $18 mill last offseason because he had one good season. Martin would be the same age with a longer track record and better defense.

      Martin has to consider the possibility of a huge splash in free agency vs. the possibility of a bad or injury marred 2012 season (and other factors… city he wants to live in, team he wants to play for, etc.). The Yankees might be able to get a relative bargain by extending him now, because they assume the risk of a flop in 2012… not Martin.

      Would work as a depth move for the Yankees. If Martin stinks… you probably have to eat the contract (or part of it in a trade), but you still have Montero, Cervelli, Romine, even Murphy, Sanchez, etc. as back-up options. If he does well… that’s a good problem to have. You can split time, trade him, trade one or more of the guys behind him, have a C if the guys behind him fail… whatever.

      So there’s an argument both for letting him play out 2012 and for trying to get him to sign a 2 or 3 year deal at terms the Yankees like. Besides their opinion on Martin, their opinions on Montero, Romine, Cervelli, and maybe Murphy probably come into play too… Can/should Montero catch? (Two questions, since some who think he can don’t think he should for injury concerns.) How many games/year? Will Romine hit respectively in AAA let alone MLB? (Stagnated his 2nd season in AA.) Can Romine catch? (Most people feel so, but as with just about every Yankee prospect… Keith Law thinks he can’t field.) Could Murphy be ready in 2013/4 if Montero, Cervelli, and/or Romine falter? Can the Yankees find a C outside the org if some of their guys falter?

  • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

    Too lazy to look but it’d be interesting to go back and review the pattern exhibited the last time the Yanks transitioned catchers. THe swap from Girardi to Posada took 2-3 seasons iirc right? Personally I offer Russ arb but try to ink him to say 2/$13mm with a team option at $7mm and a $1mm buyout.

    • Ted Nelson

      Who knows and there’s a healthy debate above, but if I’m Russell Martin I probably don’t take any short deal with a team option. One healthy season and I’m in the drivers seat.

  • Woodrow Sweats

    it’ll be really interesting to see if the yankees trade cervelli this offseason, and if they do, what they get for him… they were basically going to get martin for him, right? but that fell through and the yankees ended up with both? cervelli could get a nice piece in return…

  • http://none Favrest

    He was just a sensational addition to this team. He’s got a great arm, he blocks the ball. He blocks the plate.

    Before the season, I hoped for .250 with 10homers a

  • Brian S.

    Yeah he sure was awesome when he had that three month stretch with a sub .300 OBP and SLG. Also, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate him keeping Montero down at AAA all season long. Yay Russel Martin!

    • Ted Nelson

      A. We tend to measure players by average stats for a reason… everyone has slumps. Overall he’s been good.

      B. If the Yankees thought Montero were ready to be a MLB C this season, you don’t think they’d have had him start 1 MLB game at C yet? Not one?

  • Brian S.

    Also, LOL at people saying Russ is the reason our pitching is so good this year. CC has been good because he’s CC. Colon has been good because his surgically repaired shoulder has helped him have good stuff again. Freddy has been good because of his lucky ass HR/FB rate. Nova has been good because he keeps the ball on the ground, and since June has actually had a decent strikeout rate.

    • Ted Nelson

      LOL x100000000000000000000 at not thinking that pitch selection, defense, and preparation have something to do with a pitcher’s success. LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

      This doesn’t mean that Martin did impact the pitchers, but to simply dismiss the possibility by listing the pitchers in question’s accomplishments is the silliest thing I’ve seen all day.

      • Brian S.

        LOLOLOLOLOLOL at thinking Cervelli or Montero couldn’t do the exact same thing in terms of “pitch selection” and “preparation.”

        • Joe Pawlikowski

          It wasn’t the most mature response from Ted, but he’s right. It’s laughable if you think that Cervelli and Montero can influence a pitching staff in the same way Martin does.

          • Brian S.

            Really? I can’t believe a writer on RAB would buy into the “calls a good game” tripe. “Calls a good game” is a fictituous attribute assigned to catchers to try to make them look more valuable than they actually are. If Russel Martin is so good at game calling, than why does CC choose Cervelli?

            • Joe Pawlikowski

              It’s not necessarily calls a good game. It’s about blocking, framing, throwing — things that help create outs. Russ is greatly superior to Cervelli in that regard.

              • Brian S.

                So would you say that the conjecture that Russel Martin is THE reason our starting pitching has out performed expectations is a laughable one as well?

                • Ted Nelson

                  People are saying that he might be **A** reason… and you are creating a strawman by “laughing” at their argument. No one on here has said Martin definitely helps the pitching staff with game calling or any other aspect of his preparation and defense. You are not arguing with anyone but yourself there. People have said that his defense, game calling,

                  C do actually call pitches. We can agree on that, right? So then it would seem it is *possible* for one C to call a superior sequence of pitches and locations, no? Cervelli and Montero and my grandmother might all be *capable* of calling as good a game as Martin… but that doesn’t mean they necessarily do. Just because the Brian S. can’t quantify the impact of something, doesn’t mean he should conclude it can’t possible exist… especially when it’s painfully obvious that it can possibly exist. Simply saying a guy calls a good game without any supporting evidence is stupid, but so is saying that one guys can’t consistently call a better game than another guy.

                  • Brian S.

                    Look at the comments up top. “IMO Martin is the primary reason for the success of the pitching staff top to bottom.” So no, not a strawman.

            • Joe Pawlikowski

              And in any case, I see you presenting no evidence to suggest that calling a good game is irrelevant.

              • Brian S.

                Because there is none. There is no “game calling” evidence, unless you count cERA, which is stupid statistic. So people rely on the eye test. People see our pitching perform well and assign the credit to Russel Martin, which I feel is lame.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Just because you can’t quantify whether Martin calls a good game that doesn’t mean he can’t. Most people here have talked about it more in the theoretical without claiming they can quantify it. Yet you jump on their cases ignorantly with an illogical argument, which I feel is lame.

                  • Brian S.

                    I’M the one with the illogical argument? You too are making an analytical argument without providing evidence. Pot, meet kettle.

            • David, Jr.

              “If Russel Martin is so good at game calling, than why does CC choose Cervelli?”


              It could be that Girardi’s idea is that a backup catcher should become familiar with one pitcher. That is very logical, and my own theory would be that CC would be a good candidate for that, as he is very easy to catch.

              It may have nothing to do with their attributes in the fine points of catching, which certainly are important overall.

              • Ted Nelson

                “my own theory would be that CC would be a good candidate for that, as he is very easy to catch.”

                Yeah, agreed. I have no idea, but there is an argument for having your lesser C (overall) catching your best P, since the superior P should create a little more margin for error (whether off or def).

                • David, Jr.

                  CC is certainly the best, and he also has very good control.

                  Also, the margin point is a good one that I didn’t think of. You need a backup catcher, otherwise the starter would get completely worn down, so that being the case you should use said backup catcher in the most favorable circumstances.

                  I don’t see the guy’s point in ripping Martin. Martin obviously deserves extra credit for the performance of the pitching staff, as does Rothschild. I am certain that if you asked the pitchers, they would say exactly that.

                  • BK2ATL

                    Some people just have a need to gripe for whatever reason.

                    I remember clearly the struggles we all had watching Posada and Cervelli behind the plate in 2010. It was pitiful, to say the least. Not as bad as Boston’s plate situation, but pitiful.

                    Russ deserves all the praise in the world for solidify the C position this year. We get to see why he was a former All Star and Gold Glover before he came to the Bronx.

                    The staff likes pitching to him, as he calls a good game, frames pitches correctly, and gets down in the dirt to block balls effectively. He deters runners. He brings confidence to the overall team defense.

                    • Brian S.

                      Yeah you guys sure are using a lot of empirical data in these comments. Just look at all the facts brimming in this one. I’M the one who is making shit up.