Russell Martin Not Impressing with his Defense

New York Yankees catcher Russell MartinVia Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:

Scouts are growing increasingly critical of Russell Martin’s defense…

…Martin, one scout says, “has gotten worse each week — he’s not catching well and he’s not throwing well.” Two other scouts were less harsh in their assessment of Martin, but one said, “He hasn’t really excited anyone at all.”

The Yankees have gotten lucky with their pitching this spring. Nearly all of the options pitched well, nobody is hurt, and all things considered they have a solid rotation going into the season.

Things have not gone quite as well with the competition behind home plate. Martin got off to a slow start due to knee surgery which appears to be effecting him more and more as spring training goes on, Francisco Cervelli broke his foot, and Jesus Montero has not played well enough to grab a job that should have easily have been his. Austin Romine certainly hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been good enough to warrant a jump from Double-A to the Bronx.

So now the Yankees will go into the season with a catcher slowed by an injury (I thought Jorge Posada isn’t the catcher anymore) and Gustavo Molina as their backup. This isn’t exactly inspiring, we’re not supposed to be counting down the days for Cervelli’s return.

The thing to keep in perspective though is that spring training stats really don’t mean anything. Montero will go back down to the minors and he will eventually find his comfort level. When he does that, if the Yankees are still dealing with catching issues, they can call him back up and he could potentially be a big contributor. This isn’t some kid who is a year or two away. He is very likely going to help this team this year. It’s probably why the Yankees took such a risk with Martin even though he is recovering from knee surgery.

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10 Responses to Russell Martin Not Impressing with his Defense

  1. dutchsailor says:

    So if Montero goes back to Scranton, does that mean that Romine returns to Trenton?

  2. Will says:

    Yanks have dealt with sub-par and at times horrendous catching defense and pitch calling since 2001. I can't imagine that Martin, Montero or Molina will be any worse than Jorge was.

  3. Franco Kotos says:

    To tell you the truth, Cervelli should be starting. Martin should be backup. Cervelli improved his defense and he's a scrappy clutch hitter.

  4. stunna4885 says:

    gimme a break with all these moron scouts criticizing yankee players. montero supposedly sucks, phil hughes is throwing meatballs, martin 's no good. martin is extremely well liked by the yankee pitching staff already and has been fine behind the dish. phil hughes velocity is fine and montero just needs to stop pressing at the plate. im tired of all the daily negative comments by loser writers like heyman and irrelavant scouts. martin is healthy and fine will prob hit 280/360/400 will solid defense and with cervelli coming back were fine. get a life scouts " i mean yankee haters"

  5. stunna4885 says:

    reality check people our lineup is great, our pen is deep as hell and really strong, our bench is the best its been heading into a season and our rotation is underatted and deep as well. add in the inevidable midseason trade and were looking real good.

  6. Mike S. says:

    Good post, Rob. I've mentioned myself the disgust I've had at something I've never seen before. Not once, but twice this spring has a runner been on second, Martin committed a passed ball or there has been a wild pitch on a strikeout, and Martin, in then attempting to throw out the runner, threw the ball away, enabling the runner to score from second. Completely unacceptable. To do it once is unacceptable, but twice in the same spring training?

  7. The Pirate says:

    Martin it's a former gold glove winner. Let compare his stats with other catchers of the Yankees and Red Sox. Cervelli 3 seasons GP 153, PB 2,E 14, (SB 69, CS 19 = 22%) Posada 16 seasons, GP 1714, PB 142, E 69, (SB 984, CS 386= 28%) Saltalamacchia (Red Sox) GP 191, PB 10, E 20, (SB 144, CS 37=25%

    Martin 5 seasons, GP 641, PB 24, E 44, (SB 340, CS 156 = 31%. The major league average it's 27%. He is a good arm and quick delivery to second base.In term of CS Martin it's an upgrade in the Yankees roster.He's a good base runner and has more speed than Posada.He is a good hitter, give sometime to Martin to get well and the results will be excelent. Alex last year was slow and look the show this Spring.

    • Franco Kotos says:

      The Yankees were looking at those stats when they signed him. I agree, Martin may come around but if not, Cervelli is waiting in the wings. I like Francisco, he's a gamer and if his defense maintains some improvement, he could be a decent option as a starter or possibly used in a trade mid-season if needed. He was Mr. Clutch last year and I like the clutch players. That's why it was hard to see guys like Damon and especially Matsui leave NY.

  8. Will says:

    Cervelli took major steps backward last year. He played about 100 games I think and was still near the league lead in errors and/or PBs. Not sure how/why that happened. He did look good in 2009. Hopefully he can return to form this year. Regardless, I doubt Martin could be worse than what we saw last year and I suspect his pitch selection will be better than anything we have seen in some time. Bowa had a lot of surprisingly positive things to say about him on 30 in 30 tonight.

  9. john says:

    I have a feeling Martin may be damaged goods.If Cervelli can get back and hit over a full season he can be a Yadier Molina type. greta d good enough O.

    Im sure Gustavo Molina is a great dude and all but really? they couldve just kept Kevin Cash or Chad Moehler. This make me want to puke. With the rest of the lineup just put Montero there until Cervelli gets back. STOP BEING SO SCARED OF YOUNG PLAYERS