Why is Russell Martin the new starting catcher for the Yankees? Here is Brian Cashman explaining what he likes about Martin and what it means for super prospect Jesus Montero:
Martin comes with questions. His health and his offensive drop-off are the most obvious, but also this–despite his 2007 Gold Glove award he was not considered a defense-first kind of catcher. The Yankees seem to be at ease with this, however. Dodger personnel gave him a good review, Martin’s makeup seems acceptable, and now Martin provides insurance for the development of Jesus Montero and Austin Romine.
Montero’s bat is what makes him special and if he hits .380 with 5 home runs in spring training, he might be able to play himself onto the team despite Martin’s presence, similar to the way Alfonso Soriano did in 2001. Austin Romine shouldn’t be ignored either. Most likely targeted for AAA in 2011, Romine could easily be in the Yankees big league plans very soon, especially if Montero ends up as trade bait for a front-line starting pitcher. And yes, that is always possible.
I realize we are forgetting one name here–Jorge Posada. What is quite clear with the signing of Martin, if it wasn’t before, is that Posada is not in the Yankees catching plans at all in 2011. Posada is pretty much the emergency catcher now. When he’s not the DH, he will pinch-hit. But the days of worrying about Posada’s catching and his throwing appear to be over.
- Yankees, Martin Finalize $4 Million Contract (newyork.cbslocal.com)