Jul
05

The Catching Problem

By

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

I think we all knew that the post-Jorge Posada era would be a shock to our system, at least initially, but I’m not sure we expected it to be this bad. Posada was one of the greatest offensive catchers in history and as of right now, the Russell Martin-Chris Stewart catching tandem has combined for a .204/.295/.340 batting line. That’s a combined 73 wRC+ which ranks 23rd among the 30 clubs. Catchers across baseball are averaging .247/.315/.398, which seems Ruthian compared to New York’s backstops.

As the starter, Martin gets the majority of the blame. He proclaimed that he was “starting to feel dangerous at the plate” after hitting two homers (including a walk-off) in a game against the Mets last month, but he’s followed up that statement with four (!) hits and four walks in his last 58 plate appearances. He hasn’t reached base in his last 27 (!!!) trips to the plate. That’s dragged his season line down to .178/.297/.347 through 81 team games, a lowly 77 wRC+. Dating back to May 25th of last season (an admittedly arbitrary endpoint), Martin is hitting .203/.330/.353 in 554 plate appearances. This isn’t a small sample.

Stewart has hit an empty .270 as Martin’s backup, slapping singles off infielders’ gloves and dunking bloops into shallow left seemingly once a start. He doesn’t walk or hit for any power, which is why his batting line sits at .270/.295/.311 in limited playing time. For all the talk about his clutch hits, Stewart has six singles in 29 plate appearances with runners in scoring position this year (.222/.214/.222). The guy has never really hit before, hasn’t hit this year, and there’s no reason to expect him to hit in the future. He is who he is.

Offense is obviously not the team’s strong point behind the plate, but defense supposedly is. Stewart has allowed the fifth most passed balls in the league (five) despite being a backup, and he’s only thrown out four of 14 attempted basestealers. That’s a league average 28.5%, hardly what you expect from someone touted as a defensive standout. Stewart seems like a classic Nichols Law of Catcher Defense guy, frankly. Martin has allowed four passed balls of his own and has only thrown out 12 of 51 attempted basestealers (below average 23.5%). The Rays showed him no respect by stealing seven bases (in seven attempts) over the last two games. Anecdotally, I consider the two to be about average or maybe even slightly above averageon defense, underwhelming compared to expectations and reputations.

I can’t remember the last time a team won the World Series without an above average offensive catcher. I suppose the 2006 Cardinals with a young Yadier Molina, but then you have to go back to the Joe Girardi era mid-1990s Yankees. It’s not early anymore, the season is officially halfway complete and the Yankees have gotten little production from their catchers. You may disagree and feel Martin and Stewart have been very good on defense, but I have a hard time believing their glovework has made up for the limp bats. I don’t think calling up Frankie Cervelli — 86 wRC+ in Triple-A — is the answer, but he’d probably be an upgrade at this point. Either way, the Yankees need to serious consider going out and addressing their catcher situation at the trade deadline. These two aren’t cutting it at all.

Categories : Offense
  • the Other Steve S.

    Would it be a legal shift to have one of the outfielders play behind the catcher?

    • 28 this year

      Technically yea. You can put your defense wherever. The shifts prove this as well as well as when the Yankees had five infielders.

      • Florida – Ralph

        Not sure about that. Is there a rule that they have to start in fair territory?

        • Wes Covington

          The rules state that only the catcher can be in foul territory when a pitch is thrown. I believe the penalty is a balk if there is a runner on base.

    • @ggooglyboogly

      Hahahahah calling NunEEEEEEz

  • E-ROC

    I thought most of the stolen bases happened on the pitcher, who was either slow to the plate or didn’t respect the runner.

    • E-ROC

      I’m referring to the Rays series, of course.

      • JonS

        Plenty of those were on Martin. He just had bad throws a bunch of times. Many of the Rays would have been dead to rights with an accurate throw.

  • @ggooglyboogly

    They’ve been terrible and 8 times on base and 58 appearances is slightly less than dangerous….

    I’d rather have frankie on the team and Kontos still in the system, not liking the stewart deal at all

    • 28 this year

      I probably wouldn’t have traded Kontos who has some value but the move was more so that the Yankees had depth because Romine went down. At least now hopefully then can call up Cervelli. Had Stewart not been here at all, if cervelli or martin went down, we had absolutely NO ONE to call up, like not anyone. If you think a wRC+ of 77 is bad, we would have had a backup AA/AAA catcher in the Majors which is a problem way bigger than the one we have now.

      • @ggooglyboogly

        You’re right, my comment is more in the “hindsight is 20/20″ range, and from watching how bad they’ve both been lately.

  • S

    Call up Cervelli. At this point, why not?

    • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls and/or RI$P FTW)

      because stewart doesn’t have options and there would be no insurance if someone got hurt. thats one answer anyway. another is cuz cervelli sucks.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        There’s insurance. It’s not great insurance, but Gus Molina is still there. You can also lift a rock and find some MLB tweener insurance at the position. Look, I just found Sal Fasano in my yard!

        • MannyGeee

          ironically, I actually DID find Sal Fasano in my back yard. he is coaching AA NH Fisher Cats. Manager AND 3B Coach. Shoulda seen my surprise when he waddled out of the dugout alllllllll the way to 3B.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Love the Nichols law. Curious as to if it also applied to middle infielders prior to the Ripken era.

  • Tim K

    So they need a catcher, infielders, a left fielder, starting pitching and relief pitching?!?!?!? Funny that they still manage to squeek out a win or two here and there and find themselves in first place with all these “needs” they have.

    • 28 this year

      And that is a testament to the weaknesses of other teams. We dont watch them everyday, at least I dont and its obviously they have as many if not more flaws than the Yankees.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It’s fun to discuss needs, or at least I think it is, since fans of every team do it.

    • Clu Haywood

      Amen, Tim. Amen.

    • MannyGeee

      dont forget a RF that hits in October and some RISPWINS. This team is basically Cano and a bunch of parade floats.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    I don’t understand the trade and demotion for Cervelli especially with the production and defensive skills of Stewart that have been displayed so far. I do not think will improve anytime soon!

    As far as Martin is concerned. He needs a great second half or the Yankees have no reasonable expectation for him to be on the team next year. His defense has gone down hill along with his offense. I don’t blame him for the stolen bases its two fold job with pitcher and catcher working together.

    Who can you get without decimating your farm system. Without hindering your opportunity to secure other positional players for RF, bench and pitching upgrades. Romaine’s injury has set him back at least 6 months. If he were healthy I would have inserted him in the lineup at least 50% of the time for development with Martin the recipient of the other half of the playing time. Then in the off season looking for Martin’s replacement from available trades and or scrape heap. The position will be underfilled for a few years unles we pay through the nose in our own talent from the farm system.

    Watching the Rays and their group of over achievers at least gives me hope for something positive other than Martin and Stewart.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It was an odd move. Stewart was available and the team must have really thought highly of him at the time from his time with the org. I liked George Kontos too, but he was bound to play the Eppley role now being adequately filled by Cody Eppley.

      I don’t have an issue with bringing up Cervelli. He’s not Pudge Rodriguez, but sometimes you do thing simply out of the desire to try someone else.

      • MannyGeee

        I like Eppley better. submariners FTW… or hold, as it were

    • Stan the Man

      I wouldn’t be concerned with a back up catcher in Chris Stewart when the starting catcher is worse than the back up. As for the article the offensive catchers are few and far between right now in baseball, so upgrading would be nice but probably unlikely.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    Who might be available at the deadline?
    We could take a chance on Nick Hundley who was great last year but so awful this year…The blue jays might be shopping Arencibia but it’s really unlikely with them still in the mix and D’Arnaud hurt
    Other than that I can’t think of any teams off the top of my head who may be shopping a catcher with some offensive upside.

    • TheOneWhoKnocks

      Look at every catcher ahead of martin sorted by wRC+:
      Ruiz
      Lucroy
      Mauer
      Molina
      Posey
      Ellis
      Pierzkynski
      Salty
      M Monter
      Doutmit
      Weiters
      Napoli
      Rosario
      Avila
      Mccann
      Santana

      None of those guys are getting traded. It would be pretty hard to improve upon Martin (even though he’s been very bad)
      There’s a lot of teams in the playoff mix and not many have catchers to spare.

  • jjyank

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that the Yanks can get a catcher to replacement Martin who is both on the trade block and even remotely affordable. I do think the Yanks should try to upgrade over Stewart though. I miss Jose Molina, always liked him as the BUC.

    • Stan the Man

      Stewart is an upgrade over Martin. He may be hitting a soft .270 but at least he is hitting. Defensively he is still better than Martin, so getting rid of the better player never really makes sense.

  • Zooboy

    If the catchers are going to suck this bad, I’d at least like to see the occasional fist pump. Mine as well give Cervelli and opportunity to throw the ball into centerfield, too.

    • Zooboy

      Ooops. “an” opportunity…

      • @ggooglyboogly

        Hahahaha I enjoy your logic, and fully support it

  • Eddard

    Martin’s gotta go. Problem is there just aren’t many other options now. Cervelli should be called up immediately after the ASB and Stewart cut. Frankie gives the team life and energy while Martin sucks it all away with his .170 batting average. Tell Martin if he doesn’t start hitting better Frankie will take over as starting catcher. That should light a fire under him.

  • wes hardison

    Martin has to go,-call up Sanchez-he couldn’t be worse than martin!!!!!!

    • JohnC

      Umm yeah he could. Calling upa guy who just made it to High A to the majors? Yeah thats smart

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Have Sanchez impregnate some Tampa trash. call up offspring.

    • jjyank

      ?

  • Tyrone Sharpton

    cervelli’s just in a mental funk in AAA…he’s shown he can hit well for a backup catcher in the big leagues before.

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Drew

    Good thing that contact extension with Russell didn’t work out. There are enough underperforming overpaid players on the roster. cough cough arod cough cough teix cough cough.

    That being said, I have no problem giving Martin a qualifying offer for next year and thats it. It gives Romine some to get a little more seasoning and the Yankees can figure out what they have with him.

    • MannyGeee

      “Good thing that contact extension with Russell didn’t work out”

      Oh my good lord, could you imagine the media eating Cashman’s lunch if Martin had signed an extension and played like this??

      • Steve (different one)

        It’s funny, because it was assumed to be a “lowball” offer at the time. $24M/3 hoping he might take it because he likes NY. I think he’s looking at 1 year $5-7M this winter.

  • JohnC

    The Yanks are not gonna dump martin. Face it, we’re stuck with him for the rest of the season. Just haver to hope he finds it in the 2nd half. Just thankful he rejected that contract extension before the season

  • Smart Guy

    Bring up Montero

    • Robinson Tilapia

      SmartASS Guy.

    • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls and/or RI$P FTW)

      we’re trying to UPGRADE on martins 282 wOBA, not downgrade.

  • Countryclub

    People’s heads are going to explode when the Yanks resign Martin in the winter. I can envision 3 yrs/20 mil.

    • Steve (different one)

      I think there is a decent chance he is resigned, but I think his shot at a 3 year deal are fading by the minute. They might bring him back for 1 more year.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Definitely could see this, Steve.

      • DM

        I think so too. It will make sense for both sides. And there’s more to catching than ball blocking and throwing out runners — which I’m sure Girardi and Yankee pitchers appreciate more than most here realize.

        • Stan the Man

          Not sure how Martin’s performance this year would lead to the Yanks wanting him back. He is an automatic out and a defensive liabilty. He was literally lectured by Girarid over a month ago about his in game management of the pitching staff.

  • your mom

    It’s a shame all our catching depth is at least 2-3 years away or injured.

  • viridiana

    Sorry, but again TN shows mastery of the obvious. Of course, other sports have drafts that reward the weak. But what does that have to do with anything? The simple fact is that Bud Selig — who for decades still had a family ownership position in the Brewers — has been obsessed with reining in the big market teams.
    Every major move — revenue sharing, luxury tax, draft caps, internatioanl spending caps has been designed to further that single-minded objective. If you don’t think that policy deserves to be discussed on a Yankee blog, just get the hell out of the way. This is a legitimate subject, whether you endorse Selig’s policies or not. And it is certtainly topical as the Yankees will be affected for years by the new CB. And as everyone realizes, this will make it that much harder for NYY to acquire top young talent. There is no more germane issue. And why you would enforce your conventional mainstream Selig apologia on the entire blog, I can not comprehend. I at least have offered oner potential alternative. Let the weakest teams draft first in the first round. But after that, institute some sort of a lottery system that would allow the good teams at least a chance of picking earlier in subsequent rounds.

    Well, that’s my rant and I’m sorry I had to go on this long. From now on, I’ll take the good advice of Andy Pettitte’s Fibula and ignore Ted Nelson.

    • viridiana

      Not sure why my last post ended up here. Wrote it for DOTF comments, where it belonged.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      ……but he’s the one bringing negativity and furthering arguments past their sell-by date.

      • Jim Is Bored

        To be fair, Ted’s done that before too. Can’t remember any recent examples though.

        To be even more fair, I have to imagine we’ve all done that.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Of course……..except for Erica.

  • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls and/or RI$P FTW)

    For all the talk about his clutch hits

    ive watched almost all the games and most of the post game shows, and ive never heard anyone mention chris stewart as a clutch hitter. who are you referring to?

    • Havok9120

      Commenters on here.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Greg was potentially on to something in another thread with some options that could at least provide a counterpoint to Russell the Reston the way. If someone offers multiple decent pieces for Jaso, you have to think Seattle wouldn’t hug the guy. Some of our blocked fringed guys may actually be legit MLB options for them.

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    Isn’t it funny how we see the past in rose-colored glasses. Jorge was converted infielder who showed bad range, an okay arm, and a plus bat. It took a while for him to learn how to catch, and even then his offense made up for this defense.

    Martin is an above-average catcher who calls a great game, and runs the team on the field extremely well. Sure, he’s a better hitter than he currently shows, but it’s not like the Ruizes and Weiters of the world grow on trees.

    • JohnnyC

      Just curious. What evidence can you show that Martin calls a great game? Or runs the team on the field extremely well?

      • Murderers’ Row Boat

        People have these things called “eyes”, and with those “eyes” they watch a baseball game. They see pitch calling, strike framing, blocking balls in the dirt, plays at the plate. You know, baseball. I’m sure I’ll get a slew of low case W stats telling me how he’s -12 on a scale of 68, but when you watch the game you see an good catcher who is in a hitting slump.

        • eephus_pitch

          Thanks for the lesson. None of us here ever actually watch the games, so it’s good to hear your perspective.

          • MannyGeee

            wait… these games are on TV? GREAT SCOTT!!

            Everything I know about the 2012 Yankees season has been gathered by reading the RAB comments sections every night. Apparantly the MLB added RISPFAIL to the scoreboard this season?

            • Robinson Tilapia

              From left to right, the colums read “runs, hits, errors, RISPFAIL, style points, and Jeterfaults.”

        • Jim Is Bored

          And do you watch every single catcher catch all 162 games so you have a basis for comparison?

          Because if you do, you need to be working for BR or Fangraphs.

          Otherwise, no, I need more proof than your eyes.

      • Steve (different one)

        Well, there is evidence to back the pitch framing element to calling a game.

        I agree the rest seems pretty subjective.

        • Murderers’ Row Boat

          Fielding is a subjective observation. The best example of this is Derek Jeter.

  • Cam

    This is kind of something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I like Martin and keep holding out hope that the offense will come around, but I have no other expectation when he’s up that he’s not going to hit a ground ball to short. It’s so frustrating.

    I’ve kind of wondered, at the beginning of the season when Cervelli was sent down the Yanks said that he would be brought back up and made the starter if anything happened to Martin. Do you think that would still be the case now, or has the work that Stewart has put in the with staff to this point cancelled that out?

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

    Funny (?) question to ponder…would Posada be a better option at this point?

    I think it’s safe to say that he’d outhit the platoon we have going now. Question is, would he hit ‘enough better’ to offset the (much) worse defense?

    • Murderers’ Row Boat

      If the Boss was still alive and kicking asses he would have thrown $20 million at Jorge to come back. Hell he would pro-rated it and announced the move from his booth. Then when he sucks it up you wouldn’t feel as bad because, “He remember when he was good? Yeah those were some great times. How much are we playing for this version again?”

      • jjyank

        OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!!!

        • Robinson Tilapia

          He may have actually done it, only MRB would be here saying “CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT THIS OLD CODGER JUST DID! KICK HIM OUT OF BASEBALL!!!!”

          I blame Jeter AND Ted for this.

          • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

            When it comes to catchers, only Jeter is to blame though he usually just screws with Stewart.

            Martin, on the other hand, was frequently to blame for AJ Burnett’s debacles by his poor pitch selection, if I remember the meme correctly

            • Murderers’ Row Boat

              My favorite baseball meme. It’s not the pitcher’s fault for throwing that pitch, it’s the catcher’s fault for calling it. Because the catcher wanted the ball belt-high and down the middle of the plate.

              • Curt and Bernie

                To be fair, when I was a pitcher in high school, it always frustrated me to no end when there was a coaching visit to the mound after I let up a big hit and the catcher (and coach, who called pitches) would endlessly defend his (the coach’s) pith-calling by saying that I missed my spot. It always seemed such a crutch. Empirically, about half the time I hadn’t missed my spot and saying I did was just a convenient way for the coach to clear his name from blame.
                Obviously this may not be the case in the MLB but I tend to err on the side of the pitcher in these situations.

  • Steve (different one)

    Jorge Posada was a great hitter, but in the postseason he was a .248/.358/.387 hitter. Which is great compared to Martin right now, but it’s not exactly Johnny Bench.

    In 1999, he hit .182/.217/.409.
    In 2000, he hit .204/.368/.278
    In 2009, he hit .260/.345/.420, but 1/3 of the games were started by Jose Molina who hit .167/.286/.167

    I realize Mike never said you CAN’T win the WS without an offensive first catcher, but I think this point is overblown. It’s just like any other weak position on your team, if the rest of your team is good enough, you can win. Plenty of WS teams have played weak bats somewhere in their lineup, what is so special about catcher?

    Martin sucks right now, but he’s not THIS bad. If he can just regress to last years form, which is nothing to write home about, his bat can be carried.

    There just won’t be many options to upgrade.

    • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls and/or RI$P FTW)

      cosign with all of this

  • adjusts batting gloves

    Two quick points:
    1. Martin is clearly playing hurt. Remember the “back tightness” ten days back? It was affecting him before it was made public and seems to be doing so now after he supposedly got better. Don’t know why the Yankees didn’t retroactive DL him after the initial back injury and call up Cervelli, unless Cervelli is out of options and they don’t want to risk losing him or Stewart. If he’d been a pitcher, they’d have DL-ed him immediately.

    2. Everyone who wants to go out and acquire a random “less sucky” catcher…The overlooked catcher defense measure, because there seems to be no good way to measure it statistically, is how catchers handle a pitching staff. It’s not all passed balls and stolen bases. However bad Yankee catchers have been in that regard, it’s hard to fault the Martin-Stewart tandem for how they’ve managed the pitchers. Unless the Yankees get a significant catching upgrade, i.e. Olivo from Seattle, or better, it’s probably not worth losing the time (and games) for a new mediocre catcher to learn pitching tendencies and all that stuff. The Yankees can get a new catcher, but they’re going to suffer some pitching regression as a result.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Good response. I think you’re overrating Olivo, but definitely food for thought.

    • JohnnyC

      So, Martin’s been playing hurt since May of last year?

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      Most of the names people have been throwing around are really lateral moves since absolute upgrades to the position aren’t gonna be available for a palatable cost.

      Sadly, I think the best move is to ride out what they’ve got and hope for the best. Maybe bring up Cervelli as a replacement for Stewart and hope he gets hot for a period of time.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Pretty much. The issue will really have to be addressed in the off-season anyway.

    • JohnnyC

      I guess Martin/Stewart have done all the heavy lifting in managing the staff to a Top 4 ERA in 2011-2012. Not like that wanker Rothschild. He had nothing to do with it.

  • darren

    OF COURSE POSADA IS THE ANSWER

    Except we all know that Cashman puts his ego above the team when pushing out the old players. (See, Williams, Bernie).

    And Girardi just doesn’t see the game that way, considering his own (mis) conception of himself as a player.

    Posada’s arm actually really improved in 2009 (above league average) but then the BS and the games wore him down.

    He also completely shut down the running game last year (you can’t top 100% in throwing guys out.

    WE NEED JORGE.

    CORE 4 BACK FOR THE WORLD SERIES (Mo is already walking without a limp. that is WAY ahead of schedule)

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Darren = My mother-in-law in male drag.

    • Murderers’ Row Boat

      I guess we know what Darren will say when he finally gets to talk to Francesa today. Make sure to add, “I think the Yanks should just trade for Weiters, because he’s AWESOME.”

      • Robinson Tilapia

        My mother-in-law would never listen to Francesa. Howie Rose, on the other hand….

      • Darren

        I wouldn’t waste my dime on that pumpkin-headed buffoon.

    • Steve (different one)

      You had me for a minute.

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

    Agree with Mike’s conclusions.

    I could live with sub par hitting from the catching position, after all only very few catchers can hit but what kills me is that the defense of Stewart and Martin, at least recently, has been lousy.

    The defensive exhibition Martin put on in Tampa was just putrid. Some of it has to go on the pitchers but sometimes I think in an effort to bring to light the importance of holding on runners, too much of the blame goes to the pitchers.

    • Steve (different one)

      Agree with this, and I agree with the person above who thinks Martin is hurt. A mere 3 weeks ago, Martin was an an above average hitter. Several times in tampa he didn’t even bother throwing down. He looks shellshocked.

      • Betty Lizard

        Agree. Martin was hurt before Cleveland. He was hurt after Cleveland (probably that play at the plate) and odds are he’s still hurt.

        All I can do is hope that the All Star break will help.

        If we could get a very good catcher in a trade, I’d be all for that. But a lateral move (at best)? No thanks.

        As for Cervelli, Martin is stinkin’ the place up on the Yankees. But Cervelli is stinkin’ the place up in AAA. Let that sink in.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Well nurse him back, then.

          • Betty Lizard

            Would that I could . . . .

            Martin’s “a problem” now. But there are a lot more potential problems between now and the postseason. I’m not going to worry about the subpar performance of any one player.

            (Although I am in the “I don’t watch when Martin bats” mode. I did that the entire first half of the season last year with Jeter . . . .)

  • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    Francisco Cervelli is never the answer.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Depends on the question.

      • Betty Lizard

        Not really. Francisco Cervelli is the Universal (Negative) Constant.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          2 – 5 = Cervelli

      • MannyGeee

        I really think the question is “Who could give me some quality fist pumps and some really goofy facial expressions while sucking only slightly less than Chris Stewart right now”

  • Greg

    Last night I came up with a few options for possible trades.

    Brayan Pena from the Royals and John Jaso from the Mariners.

    Just some options

    • Murderers’ Row Boat

      I hope you didn’t spend too much time thinking about those trades….

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I think we pretty much did a good job last night of listing why “no” to Pena. The Jaso option is intriguing and I referenced as well above.

  • Robert

    If Romine didn’t get hurt he would be starting by now….. OH well Sanchez and JR Murphy only 2 years away.Where have you gone Jesus Montero…
    really cant take much more of Martin and word was he would have a big year and get Molina money, I guess that ship sailed.

  • the Other Steve S.

    Dionner Navarro is raking in Louisville. Send a PTBNL to the Reds and get him. Hell, they took Brackman, they’ll take anybody.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Holy god, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

    • Steve (different one)

      I remember being despondent when the rays went to the WS with Navarro. Really thought they traded a future cornerstone. Lol.

    • MannyGeee

      YEEEEEES!!! wait, what?!?

    • Kramerica Industries

      Dioner Navarro is still playing baseball?

      Jeez, makes me feel old.

    • the Other Steve S.

      I’m tellin’ ya, the dude is hitting .349/.419/.467

      I’m not saying it’s a great idea, but it’s an idea.

  • eephus_pitch

    All the Posada haters from the past 15 years, this is your dream come true. You got your wish. Catchers who hit like pitchers. Not as much fun as you thought it would be, is it?
    I’ll live with the passed balls, give me a catcher who can freaking hit.

    • Steve (different one)

      I think this is a strawman. Have there been a large number of Posada haters for 15 years? Of course not. Maybe at the very end when his defense truly was execrable, but for a very long time Posada was a beloved Yankee. Stop pretending like this offensive vs defensive catcher debate has been raging for a decade. It’s BS.

      • eephus_pitch

        I disagree. I observed plenty of Posada hate throughout his whole career. People who wanted a “real” catcher to come in and start corralling those passed balls, and who cares if they can hit or not?
        It actually started when they shipped Mike Stanley out and brought in “real catcher” Girardi.
        I hear it a lot on local (southern California) radio, with Dodgers fans who thought Mike Scioscia was a better catcher than Mike Piazza.
        Certain kinds of fans have irrational love for catchers who can’t hit.

        • Steve (different one)

          I don’t remember that, but perhaps your perspective from SoCal is different with the Scoscia angle. I just don’t recall, when Posada was mashing from 1998-2007, a lot of Yankee fans saying they’d be better off with an all glove catcher.

          What I was going to say, was that I think your example works better for Jeter. Jeter’s defense has been on trial for about 7-8 years now, because of UZR. But we STILL don’t have reliable metrics for measuring catcher defense, so these mobs you reference wouldn’t have a lot of ammo.

    • MannyGeee

      FWIW I loved Jorge the catcher. I kinda got over Jorge the DH pretty quick though.

      • eephus_pitch

        I think we all did.

  • Catchers

    Have to disagree with Mike and a lot of the commenters on this one. While I am not thrilled by the catchers overall production and play, they are more than serviceable for the remainder of the season. There aren’t other quality options available even if they did want to upgrade. Factor in tampering with the rotation as well — a new catcher learning everything new to the team — I think that is a recipe for disaster.

    I think this is a mild overreaction on everyones part. Romine is still considered a quality catching prospect so let’s hope he gets his shit together for the remainder of the season and we can see him in 2013 along with someone else. I just don’t know who. There are so few ready made good catchers right now. Which also makes you appreciate Posada (not that we ever didn’t) even more.

    Also, I think Stewart has done a pretty fine job and I thought this the other night and all they gave up was a redundant bullpen arm in Kontos..

    I’ll say one thing for sure at this point, I don’t think Martin will return with a new contract in 2013.

    • Adam

      So I am not the only on the Stewart isn’t bad bandwagon. I’ve said multiple times to friends that I want Stewart back over Martin in 2013, especially at this rate. I’d rather see Stewart catch full-time in 2013, and use Romine as the back up so we can breed up Romine to full-time in 2014.

      As for the Francisco Cervelli situation, I just don’t know really.

      • Ro

        My sentiments exactly. Stewart and Romine are our likely 2013 catchers. I have no idea what to do with Cervelli also. He is serviceable, but not a long term answer. Sanchez probably has a full season or two, until he gets to the big league. I could see him be a Sept 2014 call up. Can’t see it being any sooner?

        I’ve been a big fan of the Stewart for Kontos trade, especially with an absence of quality catching in the market. Not re-signing Martin is exactly the area where the Yanks can save some $$ the next few years. I’d like to see the Yanks save the Swisher and Martin money, go after Justin Upton (via trade and has the perfect amount of years while Austin and Williams finish up their time in the minors) and Anthony Rendon, who is ready for 13, and provided his ankle checks out, from the Nat’s. Those are more pressing needs to me and both are absolutely realistic and possible trades this coming offseason. We can discuss in a different thread at another time.

        • Kosmo

          I somehow doubt Stewart and Romine will be our 2013 catchers.

  • RI$P FTW

    I don’t understand why anyone is complaining. The Yanks have a GREAT RECURD!!! They’re gunna WIN every game for the rest of the seasun!!!!

    • Jim Is Bored

      As always, you contribute a lot to the discussion. I’m very glad you’re here.

    • BigDavey88

      How do you feel about Snausages?

  • OMG! Bagels!

    I like Cervelli. Maybe he’s not Jorge Posada but he brings some kind of spark.

    When he hit the walk off and ran away from his teammates who were trying to pounce on him was one of my favorite Cerv moments.

    And his post-game interviews are the best.

    I think a Joba/Cervelli combo would be a fist pumpy game that would drive the opposition crazy.

    • MannyGeee

      OK that settles it. Cervelli up August 1st, get Joba stretched out to start games for a Sept 1 callup.

      wait for it….

      Every 5 days, more fistpumps than a Jersey Shore marathon on MTV!!!!

      Boom, that just happened

      • eephus_pitch

        Pushups fistbumps chapstick

  • Bubba

    Just don’t give him an extension. If he takes the one year offer (unlikely but ya never know), it brings us one year closer to Romine/Murphy/Sanchez. If he doesn’t, I think Sal Fasano is in Robinson Tilapia’s back yard.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It was just a mouse, actually.

      • MannyGeee

        that is a fcking HUUUUGE mouse. sure it wasnt a walrus in MIckey Mouse ears?

  • OMG! Bagels!

    Good catchers last names end in vowels. That’s the issue right there.

    • Rooting for U.S. Steel

      Do you count Bill Dickey as a vowel-ending catcher?

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Sure. I was taught in public school years ago that vowels sometimes include “y”.

        • MannyGeee

          apparantly that rule only applied to catchers names then? if they woulda told me that in the 3rd grade, I might have gone to Harvard or something. talk about a butterfly effect.

    • BeanTooth

      Does the “y” in Posey count?

    • Evan3457

      Thurman waves hello from the afterlife.
      Carlton Fisk and Johnny Bench wave hello from the golf course.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Also waving hello: Rick Cerone.

    • Ro

      Munson. Nope tried it, didn’t work.

  • Mark L.

    John Jaso sounds fine to me

  • Jesse

    In 2008 Carlos Ruiz hit .219/.320/.300 with a 62 wRC+ for the World Champion Phillies.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Jesse!

    • Steve (different one)

      But he’s good NOW, so he fits the meme.

      • Jesse

        I thought the meme was that you can’t win a world championship without a good offensive catcher?

  • Pasta Stumbling Sojo (formerly StanfordBen)

    I have to say, when RI$P commented above about Jesus’s performance, I was pretty surprised, but it’s true:

    Montero .282 wOBA, 78 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR in 73 games
    Martin .291 wOBA, 77 wRC+, 0.8 fWAR in 66 games

    Not drawing any conclusions from this, but it just surprised me. I knew Jesus wasn’t have a great year so far, but this puts it in perspective.

    • Kosmo

      what perspective ? Martin is in his 7th season while Montero is just getting his feet wet. Comparing Martin to league ave. is a better perspective.

      • Pasta Stumbling Sojo (formerly StanfordBen)

        I should have been clearer. It doesn’t put it in perspective of Martin vs. the league, it puts it in perspective of Martin vs. what we’d have gotten so far had we not traded Jesus. Of course, Jesus has much more upside and I’m sure he’ll be great in the coming years. And again, I’m not drawing any conclusions about the trade, it’s just that we were screwed as soon as Posada declined/left regardless of the trade.

  • DOTF N#T

    Montero hitting. 245 with 8 dingers, first season in s with zero offoffensive protection…. Pineda is going to throw less pitches for the yanks than Feliciano this year. 2nd worst trade in cash’s incredible career. Hindsight is 20/20 though

    • Jim Is Bored

      ?

      What? You’re counting this as a loss already, when Montero is playing terribly and Noesi doesn’t belong in a starting rotation?

      • MannyGeee

        and Campos made the “All Disabled Team” in BAs Mid Season Prospect thing… clearly Cashman lost

  • Kosmo

    Yanks could look at Jaso, Ramon Hernandez and Max Ramirez as possible replacements for Stewart. Ramirez is having a great year for Omaha and Ramon lost his starting job. Hernandez is a good handler of pitchers and maybe could still hit if given ABs. Jaso has started 15 games at C and could play against RHP . Ramirez has good pop but hasn´t lived up to his potential.
    Martin has hit lefties OK but is hitting a buck fifty against RHP. catch Martin against certain RHP he can handle while giving ABs to ?
    And pinch hit for him late in games in RISP situations especially vs. RHP.

    • MannyGeee

      replacing Stewart is actually pretty easy. Quintero was just optioned by KC. Cervelli will cost you nothing, Gus Molina would be a defensive upgrade… the list goes on and on.

      • Kosmo

        I´m looking at catchers who might be able to hit a little.

  • http://riveraveblues austinmac

    Cashman is not giving up on Martin mid-season after trading Montero. He will hope Martin has a bounce back. Good luck with that.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Not seeing the connection between the two.

      • Steve (different one)

        Seriously. Replace “Martin” with “Ibanez” and it makes a little more sense.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I still don’t think that stubbornness of the “I chose THIS guy” type would play into the decision to keep/cut someone.

  • Ted Nelson

    Please tell me this is sarcasm.

    The Yankees have one below average offensive player for hal a season! Trade Gardner, trade Swisher, Jeter’s done!

    • Robinson Tilapia

      If people talk enough about something, whether we agree with or not, it’s going to be fair game for a thread. Mike et al don’t have to base the threads on what’s right all the time (although it seems like Mike agrees here.) They can base things on what gets people talking.

      This also answers the “why isn’t x person banned” question. The people who annoy us the most draw the most comments.

      • Ted Nelson

        It’s not the topic that bothers me. It’s the analysis, or lack thereof. Raises more questions than it answers.

        No one in their right mind would argue that Martin is having a good offensive season. The question is how bad is he relative to Cs. That they’re 23rd as a team at C tells us nothing about distribution. Are they 5 hits falling in from 7th place, or 50 hits from 22nd? What portion of the PAs are Martin? How does he stack up to starting Cs? What are the stats at the foundation of his struggles (Ks, batted ball stats, pitchFX)? If two Cs known as good defenders are struggling to throw out base stealers, how much is on the Ps vs. them? What does his defense looks average to me mean? Based on what? C defense is very complex, and hard to judge. You have to look at what strikes he’s getting compared to other Cs, what his pop time and throwing accuracy are compared to the jump and delivery time of the P. What factors went into average? ( I have no idea how he stacks up, by the way.) How many even somewhat possible upgrades are out there?

        So the article answered none of the questions I find relevant, but did point out that Martin is below average offensively. I could read one of a hundred comments on here the last two days or take 2 minutes on fangraphs to figure that out. It comes across as the reactionary, Spoiled Yankee fan sort of thing. Like Gardner, Swisher, and Jeter all being doomed to start past season.

        • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

          Dude, obviously you’re far too intelligent for this blog.

          The authors here work their asses off and almost always present a position based on statistics yet that still does not meet your standards.

          As for the troglodyte commenters, I’m surprised they can even use a computer

          • Robinson Tilapia

            See what I mean, though? I thought Ted made good points there with minimal snark when challenged appropriately by me. We automatically just assume “asshole” sometimes.

          • Ted Nelson

            Did you read my comment at all? My standards here are really, really minimal. Do more than say the guy isn’t hitting well. That’s literally all I asked.

            • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

              “So the article answered none of the questions I find relevant, but did point out that Martin is below average offensively. I could read one of a hundred comments on here the last two days or take 2 minutes on fangraphs to figure that out.”

              First of all it’s a free blog so if you don’t think Mike supported his points well enough with the hard data that you demand, feel free to shoot him an email saying so.

              2nd, please read fangraphs instead of the comments and save yourself some time. No one will complain, I promise.

  • MannyGeee

    He proclaimed that he was “starting to feel dangerous at the plate” after hitting two homers (including a walk-off) in a game against the Mets last month

    Yeah, dangerous to rallies… Amirite??

    In all seriousness, I agree that this catching tandem is by far the most frusterating thing to a Yankees fan… that said, remember last time the Yankees traded for a starting catcher mid season? The Pudge Experiment did not pan out as we expected. and Pudge was GOOD.

    It is what it is I suppose.

    • Kosmo

      Pudge was a shell of his former self at the time of the trade AND NY wanted to end the Farnsworth relationship ASAP.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        This.

      • MannyGeee

        he put up an OPS+ of 98 in Detriot before the trade, OPS+ of 51 with the Yankees. He outplayed his NYY production for the entire rest of his career (HOU, TEX, WAS)…

        he was not the “PUDGE” that will be remembered in 5 years, but he was clearly at his worst in Pinstripes. cause or effect? whos to say…

  • Brian S.

    McCann is really scuffling. Buy low.

    • MannyGeee

      i think ATL thinks they’re competing. if hes availible, he wont be cheap.

      ON top of that, i think ATL only trades players they either A) think are broken (Javy) or B) will make a mint on (Tex).

  • Brian S.

    Also passed balls and throwing out runners isn’t the defense that you should use to evaluate catchers. It’s pitch framing and stealing borderline strike calls that the organization is enamored with.

    • Stan the Man

      Passed balls shouldn’t be used to rate a catcher? The ball is literally hitting them in the glove and they are dropping it, that would seem to suggest they didn’t do the basic premise of their job. Also,if a ball gets by you that you should have caught I don’t think the ump is going to call that a strike.

      • Ted Nelson

        The point is that it’s one part of C defense. Not even the most important part. It’s just easy to quantify, so it’s a convenient tool.

        The other point is that it’s totally arbitrary what is a passed ball and what is a wild pitch. If you have 4 PBs all season and 2 were bad calls by the scorer… you actually had half as many PBs as recorded (works the other way too). That makes the stat next to useless.

  • Freddy’s Mom

    Just want to point out that Martin is a career .261 hitter. For comparison’s sake, Texeira is a .280 hitter. Also, gee, I seem to recall a lot of comments last season to the general tune of “Cashman hit a home run with Martin.” Yet now, strangely, he sucked last season too. Martin’s fielding percentage is comparable to the best catchers in the game. I really can’t see why he’s so terrible, either on paper or in what we see with our eyes, except that he’s going through an excruciatingly bad slump now. I wish very much, like all of you, that Martin’d get his bat going again and hit in the upper .200s, but I wish similarly for Texeira, Granderson, Jones, Swisher, and A-Rod, all of whom are hitting below .270 now. Hey, we’re in 1st place, 2nd best record in MLB.

    • Stan the Man

      Certainly agree with your frustrations, the Yanks have a lot of guys who need to hit better overall.

    • Nathan

      When a guy is hitting below .200 near the AS break, there is only so much rope you can give him based on past performance. Of course, the Yankees don’t have much of any other options at this point but they should be looking at improving that position, if possible.

      I can’t honestly say that I’ve watched every game this season but I’ve watched quite a bit and Martin hasn’t looked very good, offensively or defensively.

      • Freddy’s Mom

        As I said, Martin is going through a hideous slump. My point is that this is not a reason to conclude he’s simply a bad player who “has to go.” Nothing that I can see supports that view. Substantially improving the position would mean going after one of the 5-7 best in the game, and it seems none of those are available.

        Also, update: after the Rangers’ 4th loss in a row we are now the best team in all of baseball.