After the Yankees re-sign Andy Pettitte, if he doesn’t retire, and Mariano Rivera one of the top things on their list will be to sign a catcher. They would like to have Russell Martin back, but they have not yet made him an offer, according to George King of the NY Post.
Martin earned $7.5 million last season and turned down a three-year, $20 million extension a year ago. The Yankees did not make him a qualifying offer of $13.3 million which should indicate that they won’t go that high to re-sign him. King suggests that he will get a three year deal worth $8-$10 million from somebody this offseason.
The Yankees have been resistant to offering multi-year deals this offseason, and even missed out on Torii Hunter because of it, but it does seem that they would be willing to make an exception for Martin. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has suggested that just because they want him back doesn’t guarantee that they will get him back. It sounds like they’ll make him a competitive offer, but will draw the line that they will not cross if there is a bidding war.
Martin had a rough year offensively last season, hitting below .200 into September and eventually finishing with a .211/.311/.403 line, but the Yankees don’t have many other choices. Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart are not capable enough to be starters and Austin Romine is probably not ready to handle full time major league catching duties (the Yankees probably wouldn’t want to hand the reigns to a rookie even if he was). The rest of the catching market is extremely thin with A.J. Pierzynski possibly being the next best alternative.
If the Yankees don’t manage to re-sign Martin, I honestly don’t know what to expect. They will probably consider Pierzynski only if he’s willing to sign a one-year deal. They could turn toward Mike Napoli with the idea that he’ll split time with Romine, but that seems highly unlikely since the Yankees like better defensive catchers (although they did have Jorge Posada back there for years).