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Evaluating Russell Martin's Defense

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I'm over Russell Martin.

Is he the best defensive catcher the Yankees have had on the team since Jose Molina was the backup?

Yes, without question.

Martin is better than our catcher turned .165 prima donna, Jorge Posada. And frankly, at this point, I think I'd prefer Jorge catching and runners sprinting unimpeded around the basepaths than see another Francisco Cervelli snap throw sail into right field.

But Russell Martin has not been doing the one thing that I think a backstop needs to do: stop the ball. He certainly makes a fair number of nifty stops- those stabs with the glove that snap the ball out of the air. It looks good. And, I'll give Martin this: he has hands as fast as anyone I've seen.

But he needs to put his body in front of the ball.

Maybe he can't. Maybe the balky back and the surgically reconstructed knee don't allow him to move the way he needs to, and so he's compensating. If that's the case, he's doing a great job in an impossible situation.

Martin has a decent arm (31% career caught stealing rate, 21% 2011 [yeah, these power pitchers make every catcher look worse]). But that hardly makes up for his real issue. In a way, it makes it worse. Let the runner steal second or steal third. Stop letting the runner score on a passed ball or a wild pitch.