Over the last couple of days I have reached out to many writers from other SB Nation websites. The goal was to get as much information on the new Yankees acquisitions as possible. I know we have already previewed Russell Martin here, and are planning to preview other Yankees, but it is always good to get as much information as possible.
I posed two questions to the writers: 1. What are Martin's strengths and weaknesses?; and 2. How do you think Martin will perform for the Yankees? Here is what the writers from True Blue LA said:
1. Russell Martin strengths/weaknesses? The Russell Martin who played for the Dodgers since the 2008 All-Star Game has little power, is pull crazy, and is a douche. Every spring he will say he's in the best shape of his life, but it doesn't change the fact he has lost his mojo. His best skill at this point is still his plate discipline. Subjectively, his defense seems sloppy, and I've never been a fan of his pitch-calling skills.
2. How do you think Martin will play for the Yankees? I think you will be disappointed, unless he can reach back and become the player he was prior to the 2008 All-Star Game. That guy was awesome, great team player, outwardly enjoyed the game, hit for power, excellent plate discipline, sprayed the ball, and might have been the fastest catcher in baseball. To bad he became the post-2005 version of Jason Kendall at such a young age.
Easy to say that by the All-Star Game of 2008, Russell Martin was probably on every one's top five favorite Dodgers. His fall from grace was so fast, it has left the Dodger community stunned. We loved not only the unique skill set he displayed, but his passion and love for the game. Many will blame Joe Torre for running him into the ground, and for two years he did catch more games then any other Dodger catcher in history (2007/2008), but part of the blame has to fall on him. He hated to take a day off, but it is still up to the manager to tell a player to sit down.
Hopefully the change in scenery will do wonders for him, I'm just not sure the skill level is there anymore. If his legs are shot that is one skill he can't get back. I think his power is gone forever, but if he stops being stubborn about pulling the ball he might be able to become a .280/.360/.360 hitter. He is not a big man by any means, he's thick, stocky.
Russell Martin is a grinder who would play every day if management let him. Obviously that isn't always a good thing as a catcher, and that is what most likely led to his decline over the past few years. A few years ago he was a very solid offensive force who you definitely wouldn't mind having up in a critical situation. In 2010, however, it was mostly a drag to see him at the plate because while he was good at getting on base, you almost never saw him get a clutch hit or even an extra base hit. He went from a lot of fan's favorite player to one they just didn't want to watch hit. That being said, he is still a good clubhouse guy and has a good personality. On defense he's a little streaky as he can be very good, yet will have stretches where he can't throw anyone out and will allow way too many passed balls.
For the Yankees, I wouldn't be surprised if Martin had a bounce back season if he really is healthy. The fact that he can be used as a DH every now and then will help his game, although if he hits like he did last year you probably wouldn't want to waste a DH spot on him. I predict that he'll hit around .285 this year with 8 homers... nothing spectacular but solid for a catcher.
Thanks to the writers!
There you have it. Monday will be South Side Sox talking about Freddy Garcia.