MLB.com is reporting that Russell Martin has agreed to terms with the Yankees. The deal is pending a physical, which isn’t quite a formality given Martin’s history. MLB.com reports that the deal could be announced at some point today.
The deal would give the Yankees another option at catcher, and — in theory — make it easier to trade Jesus Montero for a front-line starter.
I don’t think signing Martin makes it inevitable that Montero will be traded. Martin isn’t a sure thing as an everyday catcher, and there’s still a solid chance Montero could outplay him for the job. That said, Montero is clearly the Yankees top trade chip, and if they’re going to try to find a top-of-the-rotation starter on the trade market, trading Montero might be essential.
At the very least, Martin solidifies the situation behind the plate and makes it easier to deal Montero for a pitcher.