ESPN’s Andrew Marchand reports today that the New York Yankees pursuit of Russell Martin wasn’t merely confined to this past offseason. For the last three years general manager Brian Cashman had been after the East York born, Montreal raised catcher, phoning the Dodgers on multiple occasions, but “each time Los Angeles told him that Martin was unavailable.”
I’m sure Jorge Posada would’ve been thrilled to have learned about that.
Marchand goes on to explain that the Yankees were the first team to contact Martin once he became a free agent in December. Discussions with several other teams happened, but talks with the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays proved to be the most serious. While Toronto would’ve been a desired destination for the Canadian baseball player, New York guaranteed him more playing time than the Blue Jays could.
I remember there being a little bit of shock over Martin signing a $4 million deal coming off a right hip fracture, but, unlike most catchers, the former Los Angeles Dodger has always shown a knack for getting on base, even if his power has waned since his first couple of seasons in the league. Through the dark days of the last two seasons, Martin was still able to be a 2+ WAR player in limited action.
While it’s still early, his play so far this season has been excellent, as a .950 OPS and .419 wOBA over 52 plate appearances would attest.