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Russell Martin, Yankees still discussing long-term deal

Feb 23, 2012, 4:10 PM EST

That can't be good for his back AP

UPDATE: Martin’s agent told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York that the Yankees are now pitching the idea of figuring out a three-year deal that would cancel out his one-year contract, but “negotiations are in the early stages.”

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Russell Martin and the Yankees avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $7.5 million contract back in January, but the catcher revealed yesterday that the two sides had discussed a three-year extension before settling on the one-season pact.

Martin will be eligible for free agency after the season, but made it pretty clear to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he hopes to remain in New York long term, saying: “I love being here. Just the guys, the organization, the way they handle their business, it’s a fun environment.”

He got off to a great start last season and made the All-Star team, but then slumped after April and finished with with a career-low .237 batting average and .324 on-base percentage. He did smack 18 homers, which were Martin’s most since 2007, and produced a .732 OPS that was solidly above average for catchers.

Oh, and the 29-year-old catcher is in The Best Shape Of His Life. Again.

  1. buffalomafia - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Ad long as he stsys healthy he will be fine!

  2. rob0527 - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Well if he really is in best shape of his life and has a good year, he will be free agent and able to write his own ticket to wherever he wants to go.

  3. cup0pizza - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Bad player, bad guy.

    • djpostl - Feb 22, 2012 at 7:02 PM

      Okay Skippy…

    • phukyouk - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      did… did he sleep with your mom or something?

  4. cur68 - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin, Jr is a good dude & a fine catcher with hitting skillz. As far as I’m concerned he’s welcome back to Canada, and could play for his native Beaver Men, anytime. Reject the Empire, Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin, Jr! C’mon home: we’ll have a big piece of cake waitin’ for ya.

  5. Francisco (FC) - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Is the fact that in the picture Russel Martin is leaning back in the batter’s box indicative of the Yankees playing hardball in these negotiations? Perhaps a little financial chin music?

  6. uyf1950 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    If he’s willing to work within the needs of the Yankees to get to the $189MM luxury tax threshold for 2014. I hope it works out.

    • Ari Collins - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:36 PM

      Have you done any math for how New York can get under that threshold? They’d need to lower their payroll to the $179MM range, can they do that and keep Cano and/or Granderson, do you think?

      • uyf1950 - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:52 PM

        Yes, I have. And there are 3 scenarios plus a general scenario that I show last.

        If Jeter exercises his 2014 option then the Yankees in my opinion can only sign 1 or the other. They have a choice Cano or Granderson.

        If Jeter does NOT exercise his 2014 option the Yankees can afford both, Cano and Granderson.

        My 3rd scenario is if Jeter exercises his option the Yankees can afford Cano but in total for all 3 OF starting positions the Yankees have about 36MM to spend on all three players AAV contracts.

        But any of those scenarios have be done in conjunctions with “other” things. For example it means the Yankees can not afford Martin behind the plate and their 5 starting pitchers payroll can not exceed an AAV of about $35MM to $40MM.

        If the Yankees want to go after a pitcher like Hamels or Cain in 2013 then their total payroll for the 3 OF starting players can’t exceed 24MM.

        There would be some other tweaking necessary but that’s the main issues. If they do some combination of those things the Yankees can get to the $189MM 2014 luxury tax threshold even after you include benefits, incentives, A-Rods milestone incentive, etc…

        At least that’s according to my calculations.

        If you’re interested I’ve also broken it down another way. The Yankees have to stay within these limits which is a much easier way to track how they could get to the 2014 tax threshold:
        - 6 Infield starting position players including DH ; $80MM +/-
        - 3 OF starting position players ; $33MM +.-
        - 5 Starting Pitchers ; $36MM +/-
        - Closer and Set Up Pitchers (2 players) ; $12MM
        - Balance of 25 man roster (9 players); $10MM +/-
        - Lastly, Rounding out the 40 man roster, incentives (including 1 of A-Rod’s milestone incentives) and benefits ; $18MM +/-.

        All that comes out to: $189MM exactly. And obviously you can robbing from Peter to pay Paul so to speak. By reducing 1 category and increasing another category.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:52 PM

        Yes, I have. And there are 3 scenarios plus a general scenario that I show last.

        If Jeter exercises his 2014 option then the Yankees in my opinion can only sign 1 or the other. They have a choice Cano or Granderson.

        If Jeter does NOT exercise his 2014 option the Yankees can afford both, Cano and Granderson.

        My 3rd scenario is if Jeter exercises his option the Yankees can afford Cano but in total for all 3 OF starting positions the Yankees have about 36MM to spend on all three players AAV contracts.

        But any of those scenarios have be done in conjunctions with “other” things. For example it means the Yankees can not afford Martin behind the plate and their 5 starting pitchers payroll can not exceed an AAV of about $35MM to $40MM.

        If the Yankees want to go after a pitcher like Hamels or Cain in 2013 then their total payroll for the 3 OF starting players can’t exceed 24MM.

        There would be some other tweaking necessary but that’s the main issues. If they do some combination of those things the Yankees can get to the $189MM 2014 luxury tax threshold even after you include benefits, incentives, A-Rods milestone incentive, etc…

        At least that’s according to my calculations.

        If you’re interested I’ve also broken it down another way. The Yankees have to stay within these limits which is a much easier way to track how they could get to the 2014 tax threshold:
        - 6 Infield starting position players including DH ; $80MM +/-
        - 3 OF starting position players ; $33MM +.-
        - 5 Starting Pitchers ; $36MM +/-
        - Closer and Set Up Pitchers (2 players) ; $12MM
        - Balance of 25 man roster (9 players); $10MM +/-
        - Lastly, Rounding out the 40 man roster, incentives (including 1 of A-Rod’s milestone incentives) and benefits ; $18MM +/-.

        All that comes out to: $189MM exactly. And obviously you can robbing from Peter to pay Paul so to speak. By reducing 1 category and increasing another category.

      • lardin - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:53 PM

        Yes they can,
        After this season, MO , Swisher, Feliciano, Jones, Garcia, and Kiroda are all free agents thats about 41 million.

        After 2013, Soriano is a free agent thats another 11 million thats 53 million coming off the books in the next two years.

        That gives the Yankees a lot of Flexibility

      • uyf1950 - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:54 PM

        Sorry, don’t know why it showed up twice. I’ve been having trouble with this site all day. Again sorry about that.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:20 PM

        That doesn’t seem like it works out to me. That would leave them with about $21MM to spend on 2B, SS, DH, and C, $5.5MM to spend on positions 3-5 in their rotation, $22MM on two OFs (presuming they move Gardner to CF), and $28MM to spend on their bench and entire bullpen.

        They’re better off if Jeter DOES pick up his option, if he can play SS at all, since not only is $8MM a reasonable price for a hopefully-still-producing SS, but if he does pick up his option, $14MM counts towards the luxury tax, while they still have $9MM counting towards the luxury tax if he doesn’t pick up his option, and don’t have a SS.

        So I think to be optimistic you have to assume that he’s still able to play at all, rather than trying to find a SS for less than $5MM.

        Then you have $22MM to spend on your OF, which is KIND of doable, if you don’t have Granderson or Swisher or anyone that good, $28MM to spend on their bullpen and bench, which is mostly doable, but then only $16MM to spend on 2B, DH, and C, which is really not that doable (and definitely not doable if you have Cano), and $5.5MM to spend on pitchers 3-5, which is insanely not doable.

        So what I’m saying is that, if my math is right, it doesn’t look like keeping Cano or Granderson is doable if they want to stay below the threshold in 2014.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:35 PM

        They most certainly can keep 1 (Cano or Granderson) without the $189MM being an issue.

        To make it work realistically the Yankees can Not re-sign Swisher, Martin. As for Granderson they can’t sign Granderson for $20MM per. If he is willing to take about $16MM per it’s doable to keep Cano and Granderson.

        The Yankees starting rotation would have to look something like: CC, Pineda, Nova, Hughes and Banuelos.

        Take my word for it’s it’s doable, not easy but doable they just have to be creative I’ve done several different spreadsheets.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:34 AM

        Hughes will be a free agent before then. So he won’t be cheap.

        If you’re spending $16MM on Granderson (which you MIGHT be able to get him to agree to, assuming you sign him well before free agency), then you’re spending $107.4MM in luxury tax money on Sabathia, A-Rod, Granderson, Teixeira, Jeter’s buy-out, $3MM or so in arbitration for Nova, and $5MM or so in arbitration for Pineda. That leaves you with $70MM or so to spend on 19 roster spots, at which point you’re looking at a core of the guys listed above, plus a 4-9 in your lineup of Cody Ross level players, and a bullpen of Kyle Farnsworths.

        When you say they have to get creative, do you mean populate their roster almost entirely with scrap heap players? I honestly don’t see that happening.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:47 AM

        Knew I forgot some people. Gardner will be making ~$7MM and Robertson $4MM-$5MM (more if he’s the closer after this year), which brings you down to less than $60MM for 17 spots.

        Looked at another way: they’d have to replace Cano, Swisher, Martin, Rivera, Jeter, and Kuroda with scrap-heap players. That’s an awful lot less talented a team, and I just don’t see it happening.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:58 AM

        Ari – not scrap heap players as you call them. Some of the positions will be filled with “current prospects” like Heathcott in the outfield or perhaps Williams. Like perhaps Betances and or Warren in the pen, etc… That’s what I mean by creative. Like I said it won’t be easy but it can be done.

        Ari, I know who will and won’t be a FA. So we’ll have to wait and see. What the Yankees decide to start to do after the 2012 season will give me an indication of just how serious they are about getting to the tax threshold in 2014. The contracts or lack of contract offers to Martin and Swisher will be the first sign. I will also be interested to see what if anything they do should either Hamels or Cain actually hit free agency.

        As I’ve said before where there is a will there is a way. If the Yankees can work a mix of established veterans like Tex, CC, Cano etc… in with players with a few years experience like Pineda, Nova, Nunez, Robertson, Joba and Gardner, etc… along with some quality prospects like Heathcott, Williams, Sanchez, Phelps, Austin or perhaps Bichette etc… it’s very doable. I’m anxiously looking forward to it to be honest.

        WE’LL SEE, BUT I’M CONFIDENT IF THEY WANT TO GET THERE THEY CAN. And still, field a first call team.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:33 AM

        Sorry, the end should be: still field a first “class” team.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        Who knows how much they want to get there vs. how much they want to field a competitive team. But I’m saying that they can’t field a 90-win team and stay under the threshold with the contracts they have. Nor will they try. They will be the same expensive, competitive team in 2014.

        Now, Boston has a good chance to get under the threshold in 2013 even with a big expenditure (FA SP or RF or extending Ellsbury), though they’d probably have to let Ortiz go.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:22 PM

        If you’re curious on Boston’s math, they’ll have $29.5MM coming off the books in luxury tax money, and the only $2MM+ arb raises will go to Bailey, Ellsbury, and Salty. If they spend big, they could go over again, but they’d remain under for 2014 easily.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        Ari, to be honest. I’m not one bit curious about the Red Sox situation come the 2014 season.

  7. randygnyc - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    This story is not true, according to Brian Cashman. Today he was quoted as saying they haven’t had ANY talks with Martin and his agents since the winter meetings in December. “I would be willing to talk if they were willing. I have not revisited those talks”. NY Post

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