Why The Russell Martin Hate?

Maybe it's the 'stache.

Russell Martin, the bane of many Yankee fans, is hitting .182/.314/.318 over 29 games, good for an 81 wRC+. Mark Teixeira, who's largely gone under the radar in 2012, is hitting .223/.275/.369, good (bad?) for a 71 wRC+. Not only has Tex been an inferior offensive player this year, but he's doing it from an offense-first position (1B) and getting paid thrice as much ($22.5M vs. $7.5M).

I was fairly confident Tex was going to have a solid season about three weeks ago. I'm not so sure anymore. At least Martin, though he's not hitting, is staying patient and drawing his fair share of walks. Tex is not. His OBP is the worst on the team among regulars. Last season he belted 39 homers and slugged .494. I'll be happy with 25 this year.

I intended to talk more about Martin and why he gets the brunt of the criticism, but I think it's all relative. Unfortunately for athletes, they often get compared to who preceded them; in Martin's case, it was Jorge Posada, who was not only one of the top offensive catchers of this era, but in Yankees history. On top of that, the Yanks had a top catching/hitting prospect (Jesus Montero) that they parted with in the offseason, probably due, at least somewhat, to Joe Girardi's preference for defense-first catchers (like Martin and himself).

Mark Teixeira, on the other hand, replaced a collection that included Josh Phelps, Andy Phillips, Doug Mientkiewicz, Cody Ransom, Richie Sexson, Juan Miranda and a declining Jason Giambi. Oof. In that sense, Martin takes unfair criticism just because his predecessors were better than Tex's.

There are obviously more factors like how Tex has been in pinstripes longer (by two years) and helped the Yanks win the 2009 World Series, but that's not enough, in my opinion, to justify the Russell Martin hate (when other players are also underperforming and getting paid more).

Is it that he's from north of the border?

[Stats are as of Thursday.]

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