It’s been a year since Russell Martin agreed to a free agent contract with the Yankees. He’d been injured and non-tendered, and the Yankees swooped in with a one-year deal worth $4 million. Because Martin was a Super 2 eligible for a fourth year of arbitration, the Yankees had the added benefit of holding the rights to Martin for 2012 as well.
It’s now clear the Yankees plan to keep him around for at least one more season.
“There’s no debate about how good Russell is that he should be the guy (starting at catcher next season),” Brian Cashman said during last week’s Winter Meetings. “But at the same time, it’s important for our future to make sure (Jesus) Montero continues his development because he has a chance to be something spectacular at that catching position.”
The Yankees are committed to Montero as a catcher. There are no plans to movehim to the outfield, and Cashman said he doesn’t expect Montero to get much time at first base during spring training. The expectation is that he’ll get a lot of time at designated hitter next season, and he’ll do a fair share of work behind the plate where the Yankees believe he’s steadily getting better.
But the catching job still belongs to Martin, who last season stayed healthy, hit for power and developed a total-confidence reputation with the pitching staff.
“We have a tremendous catcher in Russell Martin,” Cashman said. “He’ll be our catcher. We have a player with such a high ceiling in Jesus Montero that needs to catch and continue finishing off his development as a catcher. I expect him to catch a lot this spring, and I would think that he’ll continue that development as a catcher in-season as well at the Major League level.”
Associated Press photo