Tag: Russell Martin

New York Yankees: 3 Yankees Who Must Be Replaced After Disappointing Postseason

After an embarrassing end to the 2012 postseason, the New York Yankees will be looking to upgrade their roster and make another run at a twenty-eighth World Series title.

Age was a huge factor in the Yankees laying an egg in this year’s ALCS. This team will have to get younger to stay competitive in a league full of rising young stars.

The quieting of the Yankee bats come playoff time is beginning to feel like a perennial postseason phenomenon in New York.

This Yankee clubhouse is in need of a change in atmosphere and philosophy, something that can be fixed by replacing the players with reoccurring postseason slumps.

Here are three Yankees who need to be replaced after disappointing postseason performances.

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Russell Martin Having a September to Remember for New York Yankees

The first five months of the 2012 season couldn’t have been much worse offensively for New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin. When he woke up on Sept. 1, he was hitting a woeful .198 (66-for-333) with 14 home runs and 36 RBI. His triple-slash line was .198/.301/.366.

Martin was never going to be confused with Mike Piazza when it came to his prowess as an offensive catcher. Coming into the season, he was a lifetime .267/.359/.398 hitter with 72 homers and 365 RBI in five seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and one with the Yankees.

He was also coming off career-lows in 2011 with his .237 average and .324 on-base percentage, marking the fourth straight season his batting average had tailed off from his career-high .293 mark in 2007 with the Dodgers.

Martin belted a three-run home run Friday night in the sixth inning to give the Yankees a 6-1 lead in a game they would eventually win over the Toronto Blue Jays, 11-4. Martin was 2-for-4 on the night, improving his September batting marks to .274/.369/.562 with six homers and 16 RBI.

Over his last three games, Martin is 6-for-12 with two homers and four RBI and his triple-slash is up to .212/.313/.401—hardly the stuff of legend, but hugely improved over where he was four weeks ago.

With the win, the Yankees maintained their one-game lead in the American League East over the Baltimore Orioles and reduced their magic number for clinching the AL East to five and just two to clinch a playoff berth.

Martin’s surge couldn’t have come at a better time for New York. With Mark Teixeira limited to one game and four at-bats this September because of a calf injury, the Yankees needed some other bats to step up as they try to close in on their 17th playoff appearance in the last 18 seasons.

The American League playoff scenario is still a jumble, as no team has clinched a spot with just five days left in the regular season. But the Yankees are very close and could lock up a spot as soon as tonight with a win and a loss by the Los Angeles Angels.

Russell Martin’s offensive revival this month is a significant reason why they’re in this position.

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Russell Martin’s Resurgence Has New York Yankees on Right Track

The New York evening was growing older, fans getting restless and the Yankees looking for someone to step up and lift them one step closer to the postseason. Leave it to their dedicated, hard-working catcher Russell Martin to deliver the big blow in last night’s enormous 10-inning victory over Oakland.

Russell Martin?

Yes, the much-maligned catcher has become a critical part of the Yankees’ success late this season and his contributions have helped bolster the lineup just enough to get the Bombers on a nice win streak. Martin has a nearly .900 OPS in the month of September (.896 to be exact) and has cranked out some enormous home runs.

From a momentum-shifting, three-run shot in Baltimore two weeks ago to help lead the Yankees to victory, to a game-changing, opposite-field three-run shot last Sunday against Tampa, to last night’s walk-off bomb deep into the left-centerfield seats at Yankee Stadium, Martin has been one of the best Yankee hitters in September.

It’s been a curious season for Martin, considering he’s hit under .200 for most of the year. Yet the veteran from Canada is now within one homer of his career-high in home runs and all Yankee fans may remember about his 2012 season is how he’s come to the rescue of the Bombers when it’s mattered most.

Particularly if he can deliver next month when the games are even bigger.

Martin is known as one of the best game-managers in baseball as a catcher, and the defensive metrics reflect his ability to get the job done behind the plate. After all, it’s been Martin’s catching savvy and rangy athleticism behind the plate in blocking balls and throwing out base-stealers that the Yankees have always coveted most about his skill set.

During Martin’s tremendous struggles earlier this summer, Yankees manager Joe Girardi spoke about Martin’s ability to save runs and his optimism that Martin was a far better hitter than what he had shown.

“The big thing is saving runs. That’s the bottom line to me. I don’t get too caught up in offense, but I think you’ll see a different guy in the second half.”

Martin has also proven himself to be a much, much better hitter against left-handed pitching than right-handers. Girardi has shifted Martin up to the fifth spot in the lineup in several big games this month against the multitude of southpaws that opposing teams have tried throwing at the Yankees to keep them in check.

The Yankees have struggled mightily against lefties this season, and Martin’s demonstrated ability against them has helped make up some of the difference. Whether Martin will be back in pinstripes next season is anybody’s guess, but to rule out the possibility would be foolish.

Martin will turn 30 just before the start of spring training for the 2013 season. He’s in the Top 10 in the majors in home runs among catchers and his excellent clubhouse presence cannot be understated. Martin fits in very well with this team and the Bombers will likely be reluctant to let him go.

Following Martin’s second walk-off home run of the season last night, Girardi again complimented his catcher for his resolve and ability to come through with the big hit.

“Russell has been a clutch player for a good part of his career. He’s been in big moments, he’s been in playoff spots. He’s a good player, has power, and we knew we got off to a slow start in the first half but his second half has been really good and productive for us.”

Many Yankees fans have sure pined for the days that Jorge Posada was behind the plate these last two seasons. You just don’t lose a player of Posada’s borderline-Hall of Fame offensive production and not miss a beat.

But Yankee fans could sure do worse than Russell Martin—a player with the knack for a clutch hit and the kind of grit and determination that makes you feel he’d run through a wall in order to get a win.

That’s the kind of player the Yankees would take on their team any day of the week.

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5 Early Yankees Disappointments Who Are About to Break out

2012 has been an up-and-down season for the New York Yankees thus far. Some players have been surprisingly hot, while some have been uncharacteristically cold. The team as a whole has gone on hot streaks and cold streaks as well, usually coinciding with the offense.

Players like Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez have been red-hot to start the 2012 campaign, and are really the only reason that the Yankees have managed a 20-15 record at this point in the season.  

The heart of the order has stumbled out of the gate, as has the starting pitching staff as a whole, and when Mariano Rivera went down with a season-ending ACL injury, even the Yankees’ greatest strength, their lock-down bullpen, took a major hit.

However, as of late, things have begun to turn around for a handful of key Yankees figures. If these guys can keep moving in the right direction and pick it up, then things are about to heat up in the Bronx.

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Russell Martin: New York Yankees Catcher Hates the Boston Red Sox

Stop the presses! Hold the phone! Tweet, tweet, tweet!

A Yankee catcher admits he has no fondness for the Boston Red Sox. Not since Tom Brady admitted his lack of affection for the New York Jets last year has there been such an earth-shaking announcement.

Russell Martin told the media how much he hates the Red Sox!

In Boston, such earthquakes generally run around 3.0 on the Richter Scale, hardly more than a grumble over spilled milk.

Russell Martin flirted with the Red Sox in the offseason when inquiries were made to spend a few million dollars on him, but he blew cold when the flowers and candy proved to be less substantial than a New York speed-dating minute.

In Red Sox and Yankee catcher wars, you have to go back to Carleton Fisk and Thurman Munson to find more fireworks, though Jason Varitek notably stuck a mitt into Alex Rodriguez’s snout a few years back. Jarrod Saltalamacchia criticized Yankee catchers for doing the cha-cha during their previous series in Boston.

Martin now struts his Bronx ties like a peacock on a low-rated network.

Such pronouncements usually arrive when the opposing team has confidence that they shall not again return to Fenway Park this season. An attitude like that makes for a great mixed martial arts matchup. Take that, magic number.

The Yankees must already have found their adversary in Florida or Texas, where the hothouse flowers wilt in the cold breeze off the Hudson River.

Suffice it to say—the Red Sox don’t have much of a bone to pick with Martin. The Sox are too busy turning on each other to pay much attention to those Yankees. 

The squabbles between Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are among the rumors spicing up the Boston airwaves.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia may wonder if his Yankees counterpart has some of the hot Latin temperament he earlier noted with another Yankee catcher.

Alas, all this ill will would be kind of fun if the Red Sox weren’t about to play the last act of the season in whimper mode.

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New York Yankees: Top 10 Performers

This is a slideshow on the top 10 Yankee performers right now.  Keep in mind that the entire show is not based on past seasons’ performances.  It is only based on the future, which I think is the most relevant tool that we can look to at this point.  Thus, don’t be surprised if you see some major names kept off of this list.

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Canada’s Russell Martin Is Making a Case for Comeback Player of the Year, Eh?

When the New York Yankees signed Russell Martin to a one-year contract during the offseason, they were hoping simply for Martin to provide spring training competition to youngsters Francisco Cervelli and Jesus Montero.

After a solid spring, Martin earned the starters job and has hit the ground running so far this season.

The Yankees have played 14 games this season and Martin has been the catcher in all but one of them. In 13 games, he has belted four home runs, knocked in 11 runs, stolen two bases and has hit a very respectable .289. 

The team never expected such an offensive output from Martin, who had hit a combined .249 over the previous two seasons with the Dodgers.

During his final two seasons in Los Angeles, he hit 12 home runs, drove in 79 runs and stole 17 bases. 

This came as a shock to the Dodgers organization, as Martin was beginning to become one of the premier backstops in the league. His best statistical campaign came in 2007 when he won the Silver Slugger and was voted on to the All-Star roster.

He compiled a .293/.374/.469 triple slash line while hitting 19 homers and driving in 87 runs. He also stole 21 bases, the most for a catcher since Jason Kendall swiped 22 bags in 2000.

Because Martin is such a superb defensive backstop, any productivity they receive from him with the bat is a huge bonus.

Gaining the trust of a pitching staff is generally very difficult for a catcher with a new club, but Martin has had no trouble so far establishing a bond with his pitchers.

It seems as if the pitchers love throwing to him. They aren’t afraid of bouncing balls in the dirt because they know that he’ll block them. Martin isn’t afraid of giving up the body for the sake of the team and the pitchers respect him for that.

A perfect example of that is AJ Burnett.

Burnett has always had a “personal catcher” during his tenure in the Bronx. In 2009, it was Jose Molina. In 2010, it was Francisco Cervelli. There will be no more of that in 2011, as Martin has stepped up and taken control.

Burnett has been off to a fast start in 2011, posting a 3-0 record with a 4.67 ERA.

So sure, maybe it’s a little early to hand Russell Martin the honor of the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year. But if he keeps producing at this pace, there may not be any other worthy candidates.

Other comeback players such as Justin Morneau, Grady Sizemore, Erik Bedard, Bobby Jenks, Joe Nathan, Brandon Webb and Jake Peavy will all be in the running as well.

Regardless of if Martin is named Comeback Player of the Year, the Yankees will be happy if he continues to produce at the same rate he is now.

Another All-Star selection may not be out of the question for Martin and neither would 20+ homers and 80+ RBI. Don’t be surprised if he steals upwards of 20 bases, either.

All-in-all, the Yankees are happy they signed Russell Martin and will probably look to lock him up long-term sometime in the near future.


For updates about new articles, follow me on Twitter: @kennydejohn

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2011 Fantasy Baseball True Sleepers: An Undrafted Lineup

The term “fantasy sleeper” is rather stupid at this point. 

There is so much written, so many forums and so much media, no one is a sleeper. 

You think Gio Gonzalez is a sleeper this season? He’s not. Everyone knows who he is. They might not like him as much as you do, meaning you will be able to draft him late, but he is not being slept on.

The new term should be “fantasy value” as in: so-and-so has great fantasy value because of how late he is being drafted. So, hypothetically, what’s the best lineup that can be put together of players who no one wants, all undrafted players? This would show us ultimate value, adding a player off waivers who can produce all year.

Here is 2011’s Best Fantasy Baseball Team No Money Can Buy.

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New York Yankees Should Skip Trading and Hold on To Their Young Talent

If anything can be taken from the first two days of spring training, it’s this: The Yankees have a great farm system. 

The Yankees are choc-full of talent ranging from starting pitchers to catchers. 

At nearly every position there are legitimate prospects that should be making their ways to the Bronx over the next couple of years. 

Most importantly, and immediately, is starting pitching and catching.

For starting pitching, the Yankees have Ivan Nova, Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi and Manuel Banuelos. Nova has already shown his stuff in the big leagues and he looked good again today.  Now Betances and Noesi have shown why there is a lot of hype surrounding them today agianst the Phillies.

Another abundant spot is at catcher. Jesus Montero, Austine Romine, Francisco Cervelli and Gary Sanchez are the youngsters competing for a backup spot behind Russell Martin. Cervelli has already been in the majors for a couple of years now, so we know he could do the job if he wins it. However, Montero and Romine are among the best prospects in all of baseball, and either one of them has a great shot of making the final roster.

The thing that is important is that these guys do not need to be ready on day one. The Yankees mixed and matched with players like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, threw in Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova, and of those four candidates two starters will emerge.

Assuming Nova makes the fourth spot, Colon Mitre and Garcia wil battle for the fifth spot.

In all likliehood, Mitre will make the team as a long reliver because he has proven to be most helpful in that job for the Yankees.

That would leave Colon or Garcia as the fifth starter to start the season. Not the most ideal situation, but it is not bad either. Either of those guys can hold down the fifth spot long enough for one of the prospects to get some time in Triple-A and then be called up during the season to take over.

That would allow for more time for these young guys to develop and would also allow the Yankees more time to evaluate the situation.

Either the fifth starter will do well and stay there, or they will do poorly.  Then the prospect can come up, and the pitcher (either Colon or Garcia) can be released. At the end of the day, that wouldn’t be a bad situation at all, because both pitchers were low-risk.

As far as the catcher position goes, it is a very similar situation. Let Martin start off as the starting catcher starting the season but work in the backup catcher a few days a week potentially. In a week’s worth of games, Martin can start four or five of the days, and a guy like Montero could start the other two or three.

This would allow for Montero to become familiar with his teammates, most importantly the pitchers he will be catching. Also, it will allow him to get big-league at-bats, which are more valuable and beneficial than facing Minor League pitchers.

Again, in this situation if Martin is doing well he will stay on as the starter and Montero would be a backup. If Martin doesn’t perform, Montero can take over as starter if he has developed enough.  

The Yankees can treat this situation similar to the way the San Francisco Giants treated the Molina/Buster Posey situation.

Once they feel the prospect is ready, let him take over as starter. However, the Yankees are in an even better position because Martin is younger than Molina and certainly is not done.

All the Yankees need to do is be patient. DO NOT trade away one of these blue chip prospects for a quick fix. The Yankees have four starters who can do just fine in games with the run support that the lineup can provide.

Wait it out and give these guys time to develop, and then bring them to the big leagues. A rotation of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and a prospect looks pretty damn good to me.  

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Catcher Rankings With Analysis


For the upcoming 2011 fantasy baseball season, four catchers are head-and-shoulders above the rest: Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Buster Posey and Brian McCann. Each player was ranked in the top 5 in at least three out of the five offensive categories, with Mauer leading the way with a .327 batting average. 

It should be noted that Buster Posey compiled his impressive numbers in only 103 games on his way to earning rookie of the year honors in 2010.

Rookie J.P Arencibia will most likely start for the Blue Jays this season after the departure of John Buck. Arencibia is a highly touted prospect who can hit for both average and power.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is an interesting sleeper candidate in 2011, as he is finally healthy and will be the starting catcher for perhaps the most potent offense in the league. The question that has always surrounded Salty is his heath, so be sure to have a back-up option just in case.


Visit www.kramericasports.com for complete player rankings, news and advice.

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