What Happened To The Catchers?

The catching position was considered to be the strongest position in the Yankees organization at the start of the season.  That is really hard to believe at this point in the season. Russell Martin has completely fallen off the cliff this season after a solid season last year in which he provided clutch hits and good fielding. In the minors Jesus Montero was traded, Austin Romine has a serious back injury that has kept him out the whole season, Francisco Cervelli will never be anything more than a backup, and Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy are years away. The worst part is there is really not much the Yankees can do to fix this problem.

The Yankees are very fortunate that Martin turned down a 3 year extension worth $20 million. Martin missed his chance as he will not make that much in the open market this winter. Martin is hitting .187, with 4 HR, 12 RBI, and a .667 OPS. The only good thing you can say is his .333 OBP is good for only hitting .187. However, that also makes this all the more worrying. Martin has not been pressing or swinging out wildly out of the strike zone, so him not getting the job done may just mean he is not talented enough. Martin LD % is down to 15% and is BABIP is a brutal .209. Martin did come up with a few big hits in Anaheim so maybe that will help his confidence.  The Yankees would be able to handle Martin’s hitting ineptitude if the rest of the lineup was hitting to its capabilities.

Obviously Martin’s play should call for a benching of some sort, but the problem is they have nobody to replace him with.  Chris Stewart is a career backup for a reason and I have no problem with him as a backup. He has provided some clutch hits this year and has thrown out 38% of base stealers this season. He has a few to many passed balls but between his pitch framing and his arm he is a great defensive catcher. However, given regular AB’s his bat would be exposed just as much as Martin’s has. The Yankees could call up somebody from the minors, but as I previously mentioned there is nobody that would make a big difference. Cervelli has hit worse in Triple A (.254/.322/.333) than he did in the majors last year. While he has shown he can get big hits as a backup, I think if he got everyday AB’s his bat would also get exposed as nothing more than a .220 hitter. While that would even be an upgrade over Martin his defense does not compare to Martin’s or Stewart’s. Cervelli threw out an egregious 14% of base runners last year and with the current state of the Yankees rotation they don’t need players to be having a parade on the base paths against them.

With no internal help at catcher, the Yankees would be wise to look outside the organization for help. Unfortunately there is not much help to be found there either. There are very few good hitting catchers in MLB and teams would be reluctant to trade them at the deadline. Also, this winter’s free agent crop is weak.  Miguel Montero and Yadier Molina have already signed extensions with the D’Backs and the cardinals. Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz are sure bets to have their options picked up by the Braves and the Phillies. Mike Napoli cannot field and will likely command a high salary. A.J. Pierzynski is having a nice year, but is very old, so it s is slim pickings out there. Unfortunately, with no internal options and probably no external options the Yankees probably do not have a choice but to ride Martin out this year . What do you guys think the Yankees should do about the catching position?

About Matthew B

I am a student at William Paterson University and studying to become a sportswriter. I have a huge passion for the Yankees and love sharing my opinions on them. I can analyze every aspect of the Yankees very well. I am very active on Twitter so feel free to contact me there Twitter: @RAYROBERT9

Posted on June 1, 2012, in Personal Opinion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. It’s amazing how every aspect of the Yankees has changed since Spring Training. The Yanks had so much more pitching than last year, it had seemed, and the catching system was one of the best in baseball. I’ve always liked Martin, but this season he just looks lost at the plate. And I’m not even sure how well he can call a game, though he was great as the backstop last season. I know it’s not on the catcher always that pitchers are in a slump or making mistakes, but at some point you have to look at him.

    I have no idea what th Yankees can do this offseason to strengthen that catching core. Martin is certainly out of New York if he doesn’t heat up now and bat .300 the rest of the way, and Romine’s injury is not something he can really get back to normal after going through it. And he too can’t really hit at a Major League level.

    Each and everyday the Jesus Montero trade creeps up on me more and more. This trade is looking horrible, and not just for this season, but in the long run as Jesus becomes the star catcher in Seattle, and Michael Pineda struggles to even stay healthy. Big problems up ahead.

    • Brian….
      So, pessimistic of you Brian but, you have some very good points. I think the trade is still up in the air, I’ll take a wait and see with it! The rest is well thought out, and close to the mark! 🙂

    • Brian, read Matt B’s comment and try and be more optimistic, it will keep you in good health. At worst case seniero they could bring Martin back on the cheap now, and he couldn’t be this bad next year. I still think Pineda can be a big time pitcher if he can get healthy.

  2. 2 interesting things I learned today. Optimistic people are 23% less likely to die of cancer and 30% less likely to die from heart diseases. So stay positive everybody lol. On the Yankees end first major rumor I have heard this season is the Yanks are interested in Garza according to Heyman. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/06/yankees-eyeing-matt-garza.html

    • Montero, betances & Noesi would have brought Garza in the Winter. But now betances has very limited appeal and Montero & Noesi are gone. Now it would take 2 out of 3 of Nova, Banuelos & Nunez and another solid prospect. That’s a steep price and would completely wipe out the team’s youth.

      I agree with Brian, losing Montero who was either a future cleanup hitter OR at least our #1 trade chip is looking like a complete disaster. Do we further sink ourselves into a hole by throwing the rest of our young players away to make up from whiffing on the Pineda trade? Unless someone wants guys like Hughes, Betances and some A-ball prospects, I keep the only attractive players we have in AAA.

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