Thursday, November 29, 2012
Adding Russell Martin
One year after the Pirates made Clint Barmes their most expensive free agent signing, the Pirates go out and sign their newest most expensive free agent signing ever and land Russell Martin. Martin, formerly of the Pirates, will reportedly sign a two year $17 million contract, pending a physical in the coming days.
Adding Martin fills a gaping hole in the Pirates lineup, that of catcher. Like last year, when they went out and got Rod Barajas, the Pirates acted rather swiftly to get the guy that they wanted. Hopefully for the Pirates the signing of Martin works out much better than Barajas did for the Bucs.
Many might think that the Russell Martin the Pirates are getting is the younger Martin that starred for the Dodgers. That Martin is not really the same one we have today. That is not to say that Martin is all that bad today, it is just that one should be leery of catchers that are heading into their age 30 seasons, as Martin is. One could see Martin continuing to hit for power, though PNC will likely take away a few home runs, but still being a respectable power threat. On the other hand, one can easily see the years behind the plate catch up and Martin turn into an old player right before our eyes.
The Pirates are clearly placing a bet that Martin in sharing time with Michael McKenry, will not age all that quickly and that he will be a threat with the bat. That could be a rather likely scenario. If McKenry can repeat what he has done, coupled with what Martin is capable of, that would not be that bad of an offensive solution. Defensively a totally different story, but one that many can live with.
The price is also right as it does not break the bank. It does not grossly overpay Martin, instead giving him a slight raise from his $7.5 million from last season. At two years, it is about the right length, as a three year deal might have been really scary. Instead it is just about right and while not a sure thing, is placing a bet on a decent option.