Why Russell Martin Should Get An Extension
When the Yankees opened up spring training, it was revealed that they were in talks with Russell Martin about a possible three-year extension. Talks ultimately went nowhere, and Martin and the Yanks decided to hold off on negotiations until after this season. But as we New Yorkers do, I already had my thoughts on the topic, and I am one of the people who strongly support Martin to stay in the Bronx for a few more seasons.
Before I dish out my opinions, I have to admit it’s very weird discussing a Russell Martin extension. The injury-plagued Dodger was coming in last season just to bridge the gap between Jorge Posada hanging up the tools of ignorance, and Jesus Montero donning them for the first time.
On the contrary, Martin had a great year in 2011, hitting 18 home runs and driving in 65 RBI. However, his production at the plate wasn’t the great part, it’s what he did behind it. He managed a very shaky and thin pitching staff to the 4th-best ERA in the A.L., and we simply saw that he is a terrific catcher who knows how to call a game, which is what I want the most out of a catcher.
Martin also showed devotion and determination to staying healthy, and we’ve heard many times of his MMA-style workouts he does in the winter. He’s in great shape and to me no longer a real injury risk. He loves playing for the Yankees, and wouldn’t want to lose his job or leave the team any time soon.
Now I know what you’re thinking – “what about the overload of catchers in the farm system?” Honestly, people don’t realize how none of them are even close to ready to becoming the starting catcher. All of them are incredibly young, and Austin Romine, the most realistic internal replacement, is just starting his first full year in Scranton. Anyone who wants him or one of the rookies to take over next year are out of their minds.
Also, the free agent class that looks so good now, will probably be very scarce with catchers once the Yanks make a decision on Martin. Guys like Brian McCann, Mike Napoli, and Miguel Montero are all scheduled to be FAs if they can’t get extensions done with their respective teams. However, they almost all certainly will. McCann is no doubt staying in Atlanta, Napoli will either stay in Texas or be pursued by a West Coast team, and Montero is the corner-piece of that young Diamondbacks team. Any dreams of them wearing pinstripes really should end now. It’s a great thought, but the chances of the Yanks looking at big-name, big-money catchers to come in for a year or two isn’t good.
So that really does leave us with Russell Martin. As I said, he wants to stay a Yankee, and the Yankees clearly want him to stay too. He is a great catcher with pop, defense, and an incredibly high understanding of the game and how to be a good catcher. Trust me, I’m all for Austin Romine or Gary Sanchez, but when their time comes. And sorry to say, it won’t, and shouldn’t be, in 2012, 2013, or 2014. Martin should get a three-year extension, and should live up to the contract, as he’s hard working, talented, and overall just an outstanding Major League catcher.