Oct 2, 2013, 12:50 AM EDT
Russell Martin may have hit a mere .226 for the Pirates this season, but there’s little doubt he was a difference maker. On Tuesday, he showed the Yankees what they were missing my hitting two homers and catching another gem from Francisco Liriano as the Pirates advanced to the ALDS.
After a successful first year in pinstripes in 2011, Martin and the Yankees discussed a three-year deal without ever getting anything done. He avoided arbitration for the 2012 season by signing a one-year, $7.5 million deal, but he wanted more than that annually to do the long-term pact. The Yankees were thinking something closer to $20 million for three years.
Martin’s average ended up tumbling from .237 to .211 in his second year in New York, and while there was still some talk of a multiyear contract when he hit free agency, indications are that the Yankees never submitted an offer. The Pirates made him two offers: $17 million for two years or $21 million for three. He was also reportedly offered $13 million for two years by the Rangers. He chose the two-year contract from the Pirates.
Martin went on to hit .226/.327/.377 with 15 homers and 55 RBI in his first year for the Pirates. It was the best season the Pirates got from a catcher since Jason Kendall’s heyday. Despite the modest average, Baseball-reference says he was worth 4.3 WAR. It’s actually the ninth-highest total for a sub-.230 hitter in their database.
5.2 – Gene Tenace (1978 Padres)
5.0 – Ozzie Smith (1980 Padres)
5.0 – Mark Belanger (1975 Orioles)
4.9 – Gene Tenace (1974 Athletics)
4.9 – George McBride (1910 Senators)
4.7 – Darryl Strawberry (1989 Mets)
4.6 – Ron Hansen (1963 White Sox)
4.5 – Mark Belanger (1974 Orioles)
4.3 – Russell Martin (2013 Pirates)
4.3 – Roy Cullenbine (1947 Tigers)
That’s an interesting mix of defensive whizzes (Smith, Belanger) and homers-and-walks guys (Tenace, Cullenbine). Martin is a little of both there, getting equal credit for his offense and defense in rWAR. It rated him as the NL’s 23rd best position player this year.
If not for the Yankees’ desire to get under the luxury tax in 2014, there’s a good chance they and Martin would have worked something out. The Pirates, though, are thrilled they didn’t. Expect to see Martin behind the plate for every one of their games until their postseason run is complete.
Jul 10, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT
A.J. Pierzynski being let go is not necessarily a white flag move. But should the Sox be sellers now?
Jul 10, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT
Carlos Beltran was scratched from the Yankees’ lineup last night when a ball he hit during batting practice bounced off the screen protecting the pitcher and struck his eye. And now he’s been diagnosed with two facial fractures, but they’ve been classified as “small” and the Yankees think he’ll avoid the disabled list.
Jul 10, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
Signed to a four-year, $32 million contract this offseason that draw quite a bit of criticism, Vargas has a career-best 3.31 ERA and was on pace for a career-high 225 innings after throwing just 150 innings for the Angels last year.
Jul 10, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT
I can see not trading him given the small return he might bring. But re-signing him?
Jul 10, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT
Jered Weaver left Wednesday’s start against the Blue Jays with lower back tightness and there was some speculation that the Angels would give the right-hander a little extra time off before the All-Star break, but manager Mike Scioscia announced that Weaver will start Saturday versus the Rangers.
Jul 10, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT
Yes, it’s Jeter day at HBT, apparently.
Jul 10, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
Before you look, guess which year it was. I am somewhat embarrassed to have been a couple of years off.
Jul 10, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Cliff Lee’s first minor-league rehab start was cut short by bad weather, but the Phillies left-hander took the mound at Single-A for the second time last night and tossed four innings as planned.
Jul 10, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT
The Cardinals’ most important position player may miss some time.
Jul 10, 2014, 8:57 AM EDT
Papelbon likes Philly just fine. But he thinks anyone who wouldn’t want to play for a winner is nuts.
Jul 10, 2014, 8:10 AM EDT
Death. Taxes. The Red Sox throwing a guy under the bus as he leaves the team.
Jul 10, 2014, 7:09 AM EDT
A handful of injuries went down last night, but so too did strict adherence to the Restoring Pitching Act of 2013.
Jul 9, 2014, 11:21 PM EDT
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is 3-for-6 with a double, a homer, and three RBI through two games on his minor league rehab assignment with the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox and is on track to be activated from the disabled list this Friday according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
Jul 9, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT
The Reds are one of the hottest teams in baseball and beat the Cubs on Wednesday night by a score of 4-1, but there won’t be much of a celebratory mood in the clubhouse afterward …
Jul 9, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hinted to Mark Kizsla of the Denver Post last week that he would like to be traded to a contender. But it doesn’t sound like the Rockies front office will grant him that wish this summer.
Jul 9, 2014, 8:52 PM EDT
Some rough news here for the slumping Blue Jays. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports Adam Lind has been diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture in his right foot and is expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks.
Jul 9, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT
They say humans can’t fly. Jackie Bradley Jr. begs to differ …
Jul 9, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has been named to the American League All-Star roster in place of Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka, who is on the disabled list with a right elbow injury.
Jul 9, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT
Watch as Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt sent his team to a Wednesday afternoon walkoff defeat of the visiting Marlins with this two-run double to left-center field …
- And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights 45
- The Rockies “aren’t looking around very hard” for a trade of star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki 22
- Jury finds the Dodgers partially negligent, awards $18 million to Bryan Stow 45
- Masahiro Tanaka injured: Yankees ace to undergo an MRI exam on his right arm 60
- David Ortiz is not pleased that his name got pulled into the John Lackey-Nelson Cruz thing 99
- And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights 64
- Cardinals “looking for offense” … not Jake Peavy 33
- 2014 Home Run Derby participants … 28
- Shocker: the Red Sox publicly criticize A.J. Pierzynski after cutting him (157)
- John Lackey on Nelson Cruz: “Not even going to comment … I’ve got nothing to say about him” (143)
- And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights (126)
- The 2014 All-Star rosters have been announced (103)
- Giants broadcaster says Angel Hernandez “does not belong in the big leagues” (101)