Friday, December 17, 2010

Russell Martin and This Years Hot Stove

When it was announced that Cliff Lee was signing with the Phillies, the Yankees looked to ruin baseball once more by trying to upstage this momentus occasion with their own free agent announcement of catcher Russell Martin. Martin was a catcher for the Dodgers, and a pretty good one until he injured his hip, and couldn't quite return to form. In an interview yesterday, he assured all of us that he hadn't felt pain in that hip for at least a month. Considering that he hasn't played baseball in over a month, I will withhold my jubilation for now.

This is a good signing. For $4 million (plus some performance bonuses that could add up to $1.375 million) the Yankees have a player who has hit well at the big league level, has caught well at the big league level, and could very well return to form after an injury. Worse comes to worse, he's this years Nick Johnson, and really Martin is a smarter signing than Johnson who cost us $5.75 million, and really just projected to be our DH. Martin projects to be our starting catcher, buying us more time for guys like Montero and Romine, and allowing a guy like Posada to focus on the DH role. More importantly though, it gives flexibility if we should so choose to trade either Montero or Romine.

The general consensus I get from Red Sox fans is that Boston is destroying the Yankees this off season. I concede this point, though as Red Sox fans always respond to me when I tell them about the Yankees off season exploits, winning the hot stove is like winning the primary, it sets you up to be embarrased for the next few months. But you have to give it to Boston. They've really restocked this offseason, signing Crawford, trading for Gonzalez, and the recent news of them going after Bobby Jenks, are all solid moves. They haven't addressed their rotation, which I think has bigger issues. Most Red Sox fans won't agree with this assessment but basically, Buccholz is going to come back down to earth, Lester's still good, Beckett sucks, Lackey sucks, Matsuzaka sucks, and Wakefields a million years old. The restocked offense should make up for some of this, but they would be better off adding a pitcher. But really, the best things to happen to the Red Sox this off season is that the Yankees did not get Cliff Lee. Player by player the Yankee offense is still better, but if the Yankees can't piece together a rotation, it won't much matter. Especially if A-Rod gets injured again, or Teixeira waits until August to remember how to hit again. Well, the hot stove is not over yet, and I for one am interested what the freed up $23 million or so that would have gone to Cliff Lee, can do for us in this market. I suspect a trade with an extension is in the works.

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