Russell Martin did it again last night. He tweeted another message about his offseason training routine, and this time he capped it with a “getting better” hashtag. Clearly the Yankees like the attitude, and they like the bravado. It’s the same kind of “follow me” approach he showed in the clubhouse all season.
“We thought he was Thurman Munson-like,” Brain Cashman said, offering his most eyebrow-raising comparison of this week’s conference call. “I wasn’t here in the ’70s, but you know what Thurman Munson stood for and represented how he played the game and the leadership he provided in the clubhouse. That’s what projected from Russell from L.A. When he was a Dodger and when he was healthy. He came in here and kind of lived up to everything that we’d heard.”
Cashman never came right out and said it this week, but it would be a significant surprise if the Yankees didn’t bring back Martin. Yes, Jesus Montero is ready, and yes, Austin Romine is on the verge, but Martin proved to be a legitimate leader in the clubhouse and with the pitching staff. He’s continued that leadership this offseason, leaving no doubt that he’s working hard and staying in shape.
“We are deep catching-wise, and we do have people who are going to be everyday catchers in the big leagues, I have no doubt about that,” Cashman said. “We have, what I believe is a great acquisition in Russell that provides us with a strong everyday catcher both last year and this year, at the very least if we want it. As well as the ability, if we want to go further than that and they were willing to find common ground, to even do more than one year. I don’t know. I’m not in a position to answer that other than to say we could go a number of different routes there, and the depth of this franchise allows us to play it up for one, and if we want to put all our eggs in the Russell Martin basket, maybe have a conversation there too.
“I don’t know, I’m not in a position to tell you. We haven’t entered the winter really yet. I think that our discussions and conversation and with other clubs will direct that on the planning side of that. But I’m a big fan of Russell Martin. I really like what he does in our clubhouse, on that field, with our staff, with our pitching coach, in that clubhouse. Real proud to say he’s a Yankee.”
Associated Press photo