• No Muscle In Russell

    Posted by on July 30th, 2011 · Comments (29)

    Back in December of last year, I wrote this on Russell Martin -

    Know the last time Martin had a slugging percentage above .400? That would be 2007. Know the last time Martin had an Offensive Winning Percentage above .446? That would be 2008. Yeah, back in 2007-2008, Russell Martin was a pretty good, albeit not great, offensive player for a catcher. However, the last two seasons? Think: Francisco Cervelli, last season. Or, maybe a tick better than that…say…Rod Barajas circa 2008-2009 or John Buck circa 2007-2008.

    So, how is Russell Martin doing this year? His BA/OBA/SLG line is .225/.324/.366 (in 276 PA).

    Martin is a very nice guy. And, he’s not bad behind the dish. But, as a hitter? He’s just terrible.

    The Dodger knew what they were doing when they let this guy walk. He’d be an excellent back-up catcher. But, his bat is so weak…he has no business being an everday player.

    If the Yankees can afford to carry a stick that bad behind the dish, they might as well call up Austin Romine and let him play everyday in the majors.

    Again, no knock on Martin the man. He’s a very pleasant person, works hard, etc. But, for the last 3 years, his stick has been MIA and it doesn’t seem to be coming back any time soon.

    Comments on No Muscle In Russell

    1. Scout
      July 30th, 2011 | 10:02 am

      Martin was brought in as filler until Montero or Romine is deemed ready. I suspect that day will come along sooner if Martin continues to hit like this. No one expected him to be the long-term solution. I’d still rather have him back there most days than Cervelli.

    2. Corey Italiano
      July 30th, 2011 | 10:03 am

      I’d bet that the Giants would be interested in Martin

    3. redbug
      July 30th, 2011 | 11:34 am

      @ Scout:

      I agree. The Yanks signed him to a 1 yr $4 million deal. they expected good defense (which they’re getting) and not much offense (which they’re getting).

      Romaine and Montero apparently aren’t ready; although, I don’t see why they don’t bring one of them to replace Cervelli who can’t hit or throw the ball to 2nd.

    4. Raf
      July 30th, 2011 | 11:39 am

      Scout wrote:

      Martin was brought in as filler until Montero or Romine is deemed ready.

      Yep, he was to buy more time for the prospects. Still, he has decent power and walk rate, so he’s not completely useless. Just keep him lower 3rd in the order.

      With Jeter, Posada & Martin struggling (they’re posting similar numbers), the Yankees are doing well in spite of them. They’d probably be leading if they got normal production from them.

    5. Raf
      July 30th, 2011 | 11:41 am

      redbug wrote:

      Romaine and Montero apparently aren’t ready; although, I don’t see why they don’t bring one of them to replace Cervelli who can’t hit or throw the ball to 2nd.

      I’d be willing to wager that it’s something silly like Girardi liking Cervelli’s energy or something like that.

    6. July 30th, 2011 | 12:14 pm

      Martin is a valuable defensive tool and works well with the pitching staff. That counts. The problem really isn’t Martin it’s everything else. Jeter was once a very important offensive component to the Yankee attack, now not so much. Posada is a bust at DH (3 homers and 17 RBI’s since April). Gardner does a lot of nice things, but a corner outfielder with 3 home runs and 21 RBI’s as we approach August is a luxury this team may not be able to support. On top of that, suprise, the Yanks 36 year old 3rd baseman is hurt, and once again this year is missing a chunk of the season. You also have to wonder what’s going on with Tex. He hit in the .250′s last year, now he’s down in the low 240′s, I think he many have fallen in love with the home run too much. The club appears on its way to another postseason slot, that’s the good news in all this. With this roster I don’t believe the Yanks can win the American League Championship let alone World Series.

    7. Corey Italiano
      July 30th, 2011 | 12:31 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      You also have to wonder what’s going on with Tex. He hit in the .250′s last year, now he’s down in the low 240′s

      Do you really need to wonder? It’s clearly the shift that’s killing him.

    8. Raf
      July 30th, 2011 | 2:10 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Gardner does a lot of nice things, but a corner outfielder with 3 home runs and 21 RBI’s as we approach August is a luxury this team may not be able to support.

      Gardner isn’t the problem.

    9. July 30th, 2011 | 2:19 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:

      Then you take the ball the other way. He was a smarter hitter before he arrived.

    10. July 30th, 2011 | 2:24 pm

      @ Raf:
      I know Raf. He stands out more in a circumstance where your DH isn’t hitting, and your catcher isn’t hitting, and your 3rd baseman, a key line-up component, misses more than 30 games a year. The big issue from my standpoint is the fact that this line-up will not be productive in the postseason. That you can be sure of.

    11. LMJ229
      July 30th, 2011 | 2:38 pm

      redbug wrote:

      Romaine and Montero apparently aren’t ready; although, I don’t see why they don’t bring one of them to replace Cervelli who can’t hit or throw the ball to 2nd.

      I think they just want to continue their development with every-day play in the minors but I agree with you, one of them should be brought up to catch 2-3 games per week. That would go a long way towards their development too.

    12. LMJ229
      July 30th, 2011 | 2:47 pm

      @ Joseph Maloney:
      I agree with you, the Yankees certainly don’t seem to have enough hitting or pitching to win the ALCS or the WS. However, it is surprising that the Yankees have the second best record in the AL given all of the weaknesses you pointed out, which are all credible.

    13. Raf
      July 30th, 2011 | 3:00 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      The big issue from my standpoint is the fact that this line-up will not be productive in the postseason. That you can be sure of.

      While you’re at it, mind providing me with the winning Mega Million numbers ;)

      There have been worse offenses that have done better in the postseason. The Yanks have the second best record in the league, and they’re second in the league in runs per game and 3rd in runs. Overall, the lineup isn’t the problem, though you’d like to see Jeter, Posada & Martin do better.

    14. Raf
      July 30th, 2011 | 3:02 pm

      Raf wrote:

      There have been worse offenses that have done better in the postseason.

      Point being that offense is random in the postseason, bad or good offense, it doesn’t mean anything when it comes to the postseason.

    15. SteveF
      July 30th, 2011 | 4:13 pm

      According to fWAR, the two worst performing positions for the Yankees right now are DH and shortstop.

      If you want to improve the team, theoretically those are the two positions that would be the easiest — from a purely baseball talent standpoint — to upgrade.

      I think you’d have a hard time upgrading at catcher. Overall Martin is probably about league average. That’s not so much a defense of Martin as an indication of the dearth of talent at the catcher position.

    16. Raf
      July 31st, 2011 | 12:13 am

      SteveF wrote:

      . That’s not so much a defense of Martin as an indication of the dearth of talent at the catcher position.

      Correct. And that was one of the reasons the Yanks did so well on offense; they were receiving above average offensive production from SS, C & CF (when Bernie was in his prime).

    17. Greg H.
      July 31st, 2011 | 11:48 am

      SteveF wrote:

      If you want to improve the team, theoretically those are the two positions that would be the easiest — from a purely baseball talent standpoint — to upgrade.

      Shortstop is moot, we have Nunez and Jeter, and that won’t change. I’m also good with Chavez (when healthy) backing A-Rod at 3rd. Would you try to get Matsui back to DH? Damon? I’d love to see Matsui back, but that’s partly sentimental for me. He has been hitting better lately though.

    18. ken
      July 31st, 2011 | 12:17 pm

      What yesterday’s batting explosion obscures is that this team has big trouble against good pitching, which is what you get in the post season. Lots of good points made in this thread highlight the soft spots (LF, DH, and sort of Tex).

      No way I would bring back Matsui (Yanks need the DH for aging vets) or Damon (at least Gardner can play the position). 2009 is in the past.

    19. Greg H.
      July 31st, 2011 | 12:54 pm

      @ ken:
      For the regular season, the Yanks need the DH for the vets. But for the playoffs, with your top lineup in, the DH spot will be Posada or Jones. I’d rather have either Matsui or Damon instead of those two. Even better, I’d like to see Vlady taking hacks in pinstripes.

    20. Raf
      July 31st, 2011 | 3:02 pm

      Raf wrote:

      redbug wrote:
      Romaine and Montero apparently aren’t ready; although, I don’t see why they don’t bring one of them to replace Cervelli who can’t hit or throw the ball to 2nd.
      I’d be willing to wager that it’s something silly like Girardi liking Cervelli’s energy or something like that.

      It’s because neither of them can play 2B :-P

    21. Raf
      July 31st, 2011 | 3:04 pm

      Greg H. wrote:

      Even better, I’d like to see Vlady taking hacks in pinstripes.

      Jim Thome’s better.

    22. Greg H.
      July 31st, 2011 | 4:07 pm

      @ Raf:

      They’re closer than I thought.

      Thome .238 / .796 OPS 7 HR 147 AB
      Vlady .285 / .727 OPS 9 HR 337AB

      Pretty close, and Thome’s a lefty. But Thome strikes out every third at bat, and Vlady every 9 at bats.Vlady hits for better average and better contact. Plus I love Vlady and hate to see that him come up against us in a big situation. I’d rather have Vlady.

      Jeter, Grandy, Tex, A-Rod, Cano, Vlady, Swisher, Martin & Gardner.

    23. 77yankees
      July 31st, 2011 | 8:10 pm

      SteveF wrote:

      Overall Martin is probably about league average. That’s not so much a defense of Martin as an indication of the dearth of talent at the catcher position.

      Right – I mean he did make the All-Star team after all. I don’t think he can be labeled a disappointment unless someone was expecting the 2007 version of Martin to show up.

      I think he’s been what the Yankees signed up for: a one year stop gap who may be back next year on a time share basis with Romine or Montero.

    24. Raf
      July 31st, 2011 | 9:08 pm

      Greg H. wrote:

      Pretty close, and Thome’s a lefty. But Thome strikes out every third at bat, and Vlady every 9 at bats.Vlady hits for better average and better contact. Plus I love Vlady and hate to see that him come up against us in a big situation. I’d rather have Vlady.

      Yeah, but Thome’ll take a walk along with those strikeouts. Thome has a higher SLG & OBP.

      I think a lineup of Jeter, Grandy, Tex, A-Rod, Cano, Swisher, Thome, Martin & Gardner would do their fair share of damage as well.

    25. ken
      August 1st, 2011 | 10:13 am

      Thome, Vlad, Damon, Matsui…….

      Haven’t we had enough experience to know that getting aging vets, paying them for past success, and giving away the prospects you need to give up to acquire them is a losing formula? That was the the misguided Boss-driven plan of the early 2000′s from which we are now finally recovering.

    26. Raf
      August 1st, 2011 | 11:14 am

      ken wrote:

      Haven’t we had enough experience to know that getting aging vets, paying them for past success, and giving away the prospects you need to give up to acquire them is a losing formula? That was the the misguided Boss-driven plan of the early 2000′s from which we are now finally recovering.

      It was also the plan while the Boss was away too. Don’t kid yourself, the Yankees of the mid-late 90′s had their fair share of “aging vets” as well.

    27. ken
      August 1st, 2011 | 11:29 am

      Raf wrote:
      It was also the plan while the Boss was away too. Don’t kid yourself, the Yankees of the mid-late 90′s had their fair share of “aging vets” as well.

      Raf,
      There would be no “core four” if George had not been suspended. One or more of those guys would have been traded for veterans.

    28. Raf
      August 1st, 2011 | 11:53 am

      ken wrote:

      There would be no “core four” if George had not been suspended. One or more of those guys would have been traded for veterans.

      Regardless, Jeter was flanked by aging veterans Boggs and Duncan. Posada got a late start in his career as he was being blocked by aging veteran Joe Girardi. Aging veterans David Cone, Dwight Gooden, Jimmy Key, Kenny Rogers, David Wells, etc accompanied Andy Pettitte in the rotation. Bernie at first (1992) couldn’t break through an outfield of Mel Hall, Roberto Kelly, Jesse Barfield and Danny Tartabull, all aging vets.

      This isn’t to say that the core four didn’t or doesn’t have their value, just that the other aspects of team construction is often lost in the shuffle.

    29. Corey Italiano
      August 1st, 2011 | 12:42 pm

      Greg H. wrote:

      Thome .238 / .796 OPS 7 HR 147 AB
      Vlady .285 / .727 OPS 9 HR 337AB

      That’s not as close as it seems. Vlady has nearly 200 more ABs.

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