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Russell Martin has six homers, a 1.132 OPS through 16 games

Apr 24, 2011, 1:02 PM EDT

martin red sox Getty Images

The Yankees’ offseason signing of catcher Russell Martin didn’t draw a ton of media attention.

It wasn’t picked apart nor was it widely praised because … well … it seemed like a reasonable enough move. Martin would start behind the plate for a couple of months in New York while top prospect Jesus Montero could fit in a bit more marinating at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It all made sense.

Then the season began. And Martin is flat-out raking.

The 28-year-old former Dodger slugged his sixth home run of the young season in Saturday’s 15-3 defeat of the Orioles and collected his 15th RBI. He is now sporting a .333/.410/.722 batting line through 61 plate appearances and has even swiped two stolen bases in two chances. Only Matt Kemp, Lance Berkman, Joey Votto, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, Jose Bautista and Alex Rodriguez have swung the bat better.

Dabbling in small sample sizes is always problematic, but it’s not like Martin has been a dud at the plate his whole career. He was one of the game’s best offensive catchers before hip problems derailed him in 2009.

If Martin continues to make noise, perhaps the Yankees will postpone the Montero Era until 2012.

  1. heffmessina - Apr 24, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Also he was thrown at in the 9th and the Yanks were not happy. Funny that Brett Gardner hit a homer right after the plunking. And he said this:

    • clydeserra - Apr 24, 2011 at 2:38 PM


  2. derekjetersmansion - Apr 24, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    I wonder how true it is that Mattingly coached him into being a terrible hitter.

  3. yankeesfanlen - Apr 24, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Did Cashman come in under the radar or what? Martin, Chavez, Garcia, Colon, and even Jorge Vazquez have been great signings! Montero has time now to progress, or be trade bait without worries,
    Even Gardner can hit, if someone gets plunked before him. Not really recommended.
    Dare I say he’s what Grumpy was (at least five years ago.
    Just about game time so I’ll save my effusive exuberance for a later date.

    • Glenn - Apr 24, 2011 at 5:30 PM

      Though everything you say about Cashman is true, he is also responsible for having an old team with a bunch of old guys under contract for a while. Martin was a good gambe, but the other guys were a complete crapshoot and they have been good so far. More luck then brains on that.

      • nixonotis - Apr 24, 2011 at 9:28 PM

        I’m confused. Can you give me an example of a move that was more brains than luck? Seems to be pretty subjective to me.

      • Glenn - Apr 24, 2011 at 9:59 PM

        When a GM takes a flyer on the likes of Colon, Garcia, etc., the odds of that type of player paying off is low. Rich teams can afford to take a chance on guys like this and let them go if it doesn’t work. Theo Epstein does it all the time. This year, all of Cashman’s gambles from the scrap heap have payed off. I’d think even he would admit that was lucky.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 24, 2011 at 11:14 PM

        Is he though? Of the guys who are both already old and under contract for a while, both A-Rod and Jeter’s deals were ownership taking the reins, and Soriano, though not old, is also a bad contract that came from over his head. Posada is in the last year of his deal, Rivera completely justified his two-year re-signing, Teixeira’s deal might look bad by the end but it was a classic case of having to overpay the downside to catch the prime. The only guy with a terrible contract extending beyond this year that you can really criticize Cashman for is Burnett.

    • derpdederpdederp - Apr 25, 2011 at 12:59 AM

      true they are looking good now, but remember this is still april. its not likely these bargain pitchers will put a full season together and i would be surprised if martins numbers dont drop off significantly by midseason

  4. andrebeingandre16 - Apr 24, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    he didnt have the hip problem until late last year not 2009.

  5. cur68 - Apr 24, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    In spite of playing for the Yankers I still root for this guy. How could you not? He’s a beaver loving Canadian from Ontario and he’s got about 6 middle names, one of which is “Coltrane’. Gotta like that about a guy.

    • proudlycanadian - Apr 24, 2011 at 3:24 PM

      Beavers were part of his problem in LA. He was born in Toronto and raised in Montreal.

      • cur68 - Apr 24, 2011 at 4:26 PM

        Not the least surprised to hear about LA beav, but hopefully the East Coast variety don’t cause him too much trouble (until he plays the Jays, then I hope its beaver fever city).

    • henryd3rd - Apr 25, 2011 at 7:19 AM

      John Coltrane or Robby Coltrane?

      • BC - Apr 25, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        Pre-1980 Clapton. Accept no substitutes. Unless the substitute is John Lee Hooker or Stevie Ray Vaughn.

  6. cup0pizza - Apr 25, 2011 at 4:54 AM

    Martin sucks. This is a fluke.

    • henryd3rd - Apr 25, 2011 at 7:21 AM

      Spoken like a true Red Sox fan. Or is that you Frank McCourt?

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