The Yankees tendered a contract to Russell Martin yesterday keeping him in Pinstripes for at least one more year. However, they are thinking of offering the soon to be 29-year-old a long-term deal to keep him as the starting catcher past 2012, according to George King of the NY Post.
Cashman told King that there hasn’t been talks between the Yankees and Martin yet, but that he was open to the idea. That’s not surprising as Cashman seems to really like Martin, calling him Thurman Munson-like and heavily praising his defense and leadership.
Martin also seemed open to the idea, according to his agent.
“I think he could consider signing long term because he loved it,’’ Martin’s agent, Matt Colleran, told the NY Post yesterday. “Not too many catchers go through the year-to-year process that Russell has. He enjoyed the situation and that’s something to consider. I haven’t spoken to Brian about Russell yet. That usually begins after the tender date.’’
WHAT ABOUT THE PROSPECTS?: The Yankees have a large crop of young catchers behind Martin that would potentially be blocked if he signed a long-term deal. Jesus Montero would be blocked, but the Yankees lacked the confidence to use him behind the plate last season and don’t seem to view him as a catcher despite what they say.
Austin Romine will be blocked, depending on the length Martin’s possible extension. He just turned 23 so if Martins extension was for three years or less, he could potentially serve as his backup through the life of the extension and be ready to take over full-time duty when he is 27. Three years is really the limit though, any longer than that and Romine is as good as traded.
The Yankees other catching prospect, Gary Sanchez (ranked 30th overall by Baseball America last year), would probably not be effected. He just turned 19 and probably wouldn’t be ready until 23 at the earliest. Only a five or six year deal for Martin would really block him at all and that it is highly unlikely that’s how long a potential deal would be.
THOUGHTS: It seems as if a three-year deal for Martin would actually fit right in to their long-term goals. They could keep Romine and work him in as the back-up or deal him at any point an attractive trade comes along, either way. And it probably wouldn’t cut into Montero’s or Sanchez’s potential at bats.