Monday, December 6, 2010

Martin to Head East?

According to Buster Olney, Russell Martin has quite the stable of suitors.  The Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays have all indicated interest in the 26 year old catcher, and are currently examining his medical records. 

This seems like an ideal fit for the Yankees.  A few weeks ago, the Yankees announced long time catcher Jorge Posada would be their primary DH in 2011.  At the time, the team seemed content going into Spring Training with career backup Francisco Cervelli, and prospects Jesus Montero and Austin Romine fighting for the starting job.  Considering the Yankees goal of winning a championship every year, this didn't seem like a plan that would stick for too long.  Cervelli's not a starter.  Romine looks like he's the long term solution at the position, but he hasn't played a game above AA yet.  Montero, while he excelled in AAA, could probably use a season to transition to the major leagues.  This is where Martin would come in.  Martin could tutor Montero throughout the season, and allow him to ease into the role as starting catcher.  Additionally, with Martin's versatility, he could occasionally fill in elsewhere when one of the other starters needs an off day.  It makes too much sense for the Yankees not to go after Martin.  The only way it wouldn't make sense is if they found something on his medical reports (i.e. his hip) that scared them away.

The Blue Jays are also an excellent fit.  Currently, they have Jose Molina and J.P. Arencibia holding down the catcher spot.  Molina is a clear backup.  Arencibia, in all likelihood, needs another season of development before stepping into be a 120 start per season catcher.  Like with Yankees, Martin would be able to fill a similar role in Toronto.  Additionally, with the way the ball has been flying out of the stadium formerly known as the Sky Dome over the last couple of seasons, Martin might be able to recapture some of the power he lost some time in 2008. 

The Red Sox, on the other hand, don't appear to be a great fit--at least not if Martin is insistent on playing catcher.  They already have Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek signed for next season.  If they're going to carry both catchers AND Martin going to Spring Training, it's likely either Salty or Varitek (probably Tek) would be released by Opening Day.  If Martin is amenable to playing the super utility role (a la Bill Hall), I can see his acquisition working out in Boston.

Martin will get his fair share of offers, and he'll likely be a tremendous bargain/value where ever he signs.  My money is on the Yankees picking him up.  Then again, that's my standard answer any time the Yankees are involved.  Either way, he'd be a good pick up for pretty much any team with hopes of contending.  Anytime you can get a 2.0-2.5 WAR player at a discount, you have to do it.

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