Mets Should Stay Far Away From Russell Martin

An article by posted on October 13, 2012

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman wrote that the Mets should look to sign catcher Russell Martin if the Yankees decide to let him walk at the end of the season.

Sherman said that Martin is already used to playing in New York and that the Mets are “desperate to add power, and Martin’s 21 homers were eighth among catchers in the majors this season.”

You can look at Martin’s gritty attitude and intangibles and the fact that he’s a three-time All-Star, but in the end, we better not see Martin in orange and blue in 2013.

Even Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton on WFAN this morning thought this idea was ludicrous. Why on earth would the Mets want to spend upwards of $7 million per season on a deteriorating catcher?

Not deteriorating, you may think? Well, just look at the stats from his days with Dodgers. He was a legitimate offensive threat in Los Angeles, but he has a combined .224 batting average in his two years in the Bronx.

Since reaching his career-high batting average (.293) in 2007, he’s progressively decreased in hitting each successive year before hitting a career-low .211 this season.

You may also be saying that Martin has tremendous power for a catcher. Well, he’s been the beneficiary of the short left field porch at Yankee Stadium. He hit 13 of his 21 homers at home this season.

Martin’s lack of offensive production has been overshadowed in a Yankees’ lineup that features eight other All-Stars. He usually hits eighth or ninth, and any offense from him is considered a bonus rather than an expected contribution.

Martin would be a defensive upgrade at catcher for the Mets, but frankly, the Mets would be better off saving the money than worrying about defense.

In the Mets weak lineup, Martin would most likely be hitting sixth and would be expected to be a run producer, which is something he’s not.

The Mets would be wise to stick with what they have over adding Martin. Kelly Shoppach’s career numbers are slightly below Martin’s, since Shoppach has been primarily a backup. However, Shoppach’s 162-game home run average (20) is higher than Martin’s (16).

While this move definitely doesn’t make sense for the Mets, letting Martin walk would make even less sense for the Yankees. With Jesus Montero in Seattle and prospect Austin Romine playing in just 31 games this season, there’s really no other potential starting catcher than Martin in the Yankees’ system.

But knowing the Yankees, they’ll probably let Martin walk then pull off a blockbuster deal for Buster Posey (obviously unlikely, but you get the point).

A Shoppach/Josh Thole platoon may not be the answer, but it’s a safer bet then gambling on Martin.

About the Author ()

Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He earned a Master's degree in journalism from Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Be sure to visit http://www.jimmancari.com/

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