It is early in the free agent process, but the Cubs have already met with top backstop Russell Martin, Bruce Levine reports for CBS Chicago. Martin is also expected to visit and undertake preliminary discussions with the Pirates, Dodgers, and Blue Jays, according to Levine. It is far from clear, of course, that Martin’s market will ultimately be limited to that group. After all, he figures to draw broad interest around the game.
Incumbent Cubs catcher Welington Castillo struggled with his offense and framing last year, and the big-market Cubs have money to spend, so it’s unsurprising they would have interest in Martin. In Los Angeles, catcher A.J. Ellis hit just .191/.323/.254 last season, and the Dodgers’ new saber-friendly front office will likely place a high value on Martin, particularly given his work behind the plate. The Jays have had internal discussions about pursuing Martin and making current starting catcher Dioner Navarro their primary DH.
Vandals Took The Handles
Only 4 teams (so far).
This guy, along with Andrew Miller and Brandon McCarthy, seem to be the perfect guy to fix at least 15 teams according to their fans that post here.
Miller and Martin I’ve heard. I haven’t heard anyone (besides Yankee fans like myself) say that they could use McCarthy. Not saying you are incorrect by the way.
Vandals Took The Handles
McCarthy has been all over these comment boards. Seen as a low cost alternative to the big name FA starters that will give more value.
MLBTR Prediction list has McCarthy going to the Pirates. And, I have seen him linked to 8-10 teams in the articles by MLBTR and the comments. He is an economical alternative to the “big three” and he is very likable, his twitter is hilarious, and while that does not make him a better pitcher, it does leave his name in our memory banks.
Yeah all three of those guys would be perfect fits for the Dodgers as well as a lot of other teams. I see 4/60 for Martin, 4/32 for Miller, and probably 2/26 for McCarthy.
Having a good catcher in this game is a luxury. Martin is one, of course he should be highly sought after.
Hopefully one of those teams is the Tigers!
Don’t they still have Avila?
People seem to think Avila is done after his concussion issues…..when he has said he plans to continue to play. I just don’t know why so many Tiger fans think that they should get Martin, who won’t provide enough value to outperform Avila based on his contract. It just seems dumb for the Tigers to upgrade a position where they have a pretty good player already, better to upgrade their bullpen, or CF.
Avila is a time bomb behind the plate. Concussions leave a permanent effect. Another clean hit to Avila’s head could damage more than just his career.
I know that, but as far as I know he has said that he plans to catch next year. So, why do the Tigers need Martin? My point is, the Tigers are better off using their budget towards the bullpen and CF, and just find a cheap catching option in case Avila goes down/decides to stop catching. The Tigers aren’t the Dodgers, they can’t afford to buy every player and give them a crazy contract.
Vandals Took The Handles
Tigers have an endless supply of money to give out long-term contracts for guys over 30 to make one last push for the WS championship – as they have the last 2-3 years. When that house of cards collapses it’s going to usher in a long. long rebuilding period.
Don’t know why the rumours keep being that the Jays would put Navarro to DH. Makes more sense to have Martin DH a lot and catch a little less than he normally would. It would give max value if he played say 90 games behind the plate, but DH’d the others so he could get his 150 games in instead of 110. Then ride him in the playoffs. Navarro is competent behind the plate, even if not even close to Martin, and can catch the other 70 games. Maybe give Navarro the old guys and make sure Martin catches Hutch, Stroman and Sanchez to groom the future. Navarro takes Happ and Mark B or Dickie (i’m sure at least one of, if not two of those three old guys are getting moved). Navarro could DH on occasion, and then the rest of the time it is used as a spot to rest Reyes and Bautista etc. Navarro shouldn’t just be slotted into DH, he should be a super sub… Back up catcher with more than usual playing time, DH on occasion, and pinch hit. That way you get 150 games out of Martins bat instead of Navarro’s.
Having Navarro catch the old guys wouldn’t be a plus when you have Martin on the roster. Buehrle doesn’t need a personal catcher, he just needs a slab of matter behind the plate to catch whatever he throws. Navarro is also a terrible plate blocker and pitch framer, which makes him incapable of catching Dickey’s knuckleball.
With Stroman, and Hutchison on the 25 man roster, and starters Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, Kendall Graveman, and Sean Nolin all ready to come up, now is the perfect time to get a full time catcher like Martin.
I think you may have missed my point. The way I see it you are either going to get Navarro’s bat for 150 games (as that is currently the other option being given for DH unless we move him… which would be a good idea I think) or Martins. I would prefer martins even if the defence is downgraded for 20 or so games that Navarro would have to substitute more than the usual backup. Can’t expect Martin with those hamstrings to catch 130 games. Obviously Martin is the far superior catcher to Navarro, but he is also the far superior hitter. Just seems the best way to get value out of both of them. Navarro as a strict DH other than 30 games on the year would be a big waste of his value. At that point I would hope we would trade him, which may very well be the plan if we are really going after Martin.
I think he gets your point, just doesn’t agree with it. If the Jays are wanting to upgrade at DH, there are better, cheaper ways to do it than paying Martin big bucks. If they sign Martin, they’re signing him for his terrific work with the pitching staff.
In no world should Martin be signed for his bat or to be a DH. I completely agree. I guess that is where I am saying my point is being missed. I am dealing in the hypothetical that the jays don’t upgrade DH and go with navarro as full time DH as is being suggested. In that world I would rather Martin catch 90-100 games instead of 110 -115 games so that he can DH on his off days instead of a full on off day. That way you don’t have Navarro’s inferior bat getting 200 plus more at bats than you do Martins. I guess what i’m saying is I would sacrifice 10-15 games of Martins catching in a season if it meant keeping his bat in the lineup over Smoak’s for 50 games. Fair to still disagree with that. And definitely would rather them just get a better DH and then have Martin catch his 120 games with Navarro being traded… But that isn’t what was suggested in the piece. I could be missing something, but I think there is logic to what i’m saying.
Fair enough. Martin really doesn’t provide much value as a DH other than staying healthy so he can catch.
Paying Martin to DH that much would be a huge waste. He’s a slightly above – average hitter. He’s not going to hit like last year again (.336 BABIP, career .289) Anyone paying him, is paying him to catch.
Navarro was one of the worst pitch framers in the league last year. Martin is one of the best. It’s not Martins bat that you want, it’s just gravy, he won’t hit like he did last year
How many former Dodgers catchers do the Blue Jays need?
I agree with most of this perspective, but Dickey has his own catcher (Thole) and Dickey’ll likely be the guy they’d keep rather than Buehrle who has value for many clubs (Buehrle could fit in Jays’ pen but he’s paid too much for that and is worth more for his 200 innings to someone else). Having Martin and Navarro as a tandem (plus Thole) adds a lot of flexibility and skill. Navarro did a lot for the young pitchers and enough with his bat to be thought of positively in Toronto. But the Blue Jays have big corporate bucks, have cleared a lot of spending for next year, and have little locked in after that, so room to mid-weight and back-end some free agent contracts. Pulling trigger on Martin and Sandoval would fix holes at 2B and 1B/DH (by moving Lawrie from 3B to 2B). Signing that duo would also shock the competition. The free agent most fans want first is Melky, but they’d accept some others, too.
I can see Rogers spending on Martin. They could market Pompey in Ontario, Martin in Quebec, and Lawrie in Vancouver
They could also try and land Saunders from Seattle and get another Canadian on their 25 man
Maybe they can talk Jason Bay out of retirement.
Eric Gagne isn’t doing much these days as well.
Larry Walker was pretty good in his day, he could replace Cabrera
How about resurrecting Corie Koskie
Ralph Esposito 2
John Boccabella would be my top target.
Ralph Esposito 2
Whoops. Forgot Chuck Brinkman.
Martin has already passed up an opportunity to play for the Jays (when he signed with NYY) so I doubt this is just posturing and using the team as leverage until his market fully develops.
Yankees outbid for him. Jays regretted it afterward, so they’ll be more aggressive this time. If Cubs get him, they’ll have to pay big. As a Canadian, Martin may want to make his last big contract in his home country…
Boy, who would have figured that Russell Martin would be the sought after free agent.
I do remember Martin hitting the tie-breaking home-run against the O’s in game 1 of the 2012 playoffs. However to make such a big fuss over him, I just don’t know.
You are talking about an offensive CATCHER under the age of 35. That is a pretty sought after player.
3 time all star, gold glove/silver slugger winner, and is regarded as one of the best catchers in the game when it comes to framing and game calling.
Yeah, no need to make a big fuss when this kind of guy reaches free agency.
What those guys said. Plus: He is the only free agent catcher. So, in a world of supply and demand he *is* the supply. So, not only is he pretty good, but the only other choice for teams who want to upgrade at catcher is to do a trade.
You forget this stellar list behind Martin: John Buck, Gerald Laird, Geo Soto, and a host of others.
I actually can’t tell if you are serious, or not. Because, I am hoping you were being sarcastic.If you had added AJ Pierzynski to that list I would know you were joking.
Shoot…forgot about AJ. Ryan Doumit as well. The list goes on.
don’t forget about JP Arencibia!!!
I Want My Bird
Even beyond the numbers and pitch framing, think that teams are viewing the catcher position on their team as being one that requires a vocal leader and personality, to take their team to the next level. Posey, Perez, Molina, Varitek and Posada in the past. Martin has put himself in that group. Seems rare that a team gets far in the playoffs with a catcher without the personality to lead the team on the field.
Nothing against Posey, but he doesn’t seem to be that guy at all and the Giants have won 3 WS in 5 years.
I Want My Bird
Maybe you would have preferred me to list Molina first? 🙂
Haha no. I could be wrong about Posey, he just doesn’t seem like the “team leader” guy. But I mostly only get to watch him in the playoffs, so I could be off on that.
As a Dodgers fan, I get to watch a ton of Buster Posey and you’re right, he’s no a “rah-rah” type of game at all, but I certainly see him as the leader of that team. More of a quiet professional, but he’ll be vocal as needed.
Rangers get Russell Martin
No real need to get him with Alfaro going to be ready come 2016 and Martin needing a multi-year commitment to sign him. Rangers are better just standing pat for 2015 since Chirinos has great defense any way, even if his bat is nothing substantial. Better to just sign a backup for not much overall instead of what it will take to get Martin especially since that would cut into what little budget there is for signing some starters.
Shane Flannagan 2
I say it comes down to the Cubs and Jays
Cubs had the worst catcher in a division of great catchers (Molina, Martin and Lucroy). In addition, it is about the only position where they do not have a major league ready prospect (unlike the infield where you have Russell and Bryant in the top five prospects waiting to join Rizzo, Castro and Baez). Martin could bridge the gap for the Cubs until younger prospects Caratini and Zagunis are ready.
I’m just waiting for him to sign somewhere and the Pirates to do their usual “we tried” then later we’ll find out they lied..