The New York Yankees are usually very methodical in their handling of offseason transactions. They’ll typically lay out their priorities and try to follow them one by one as they make offers to players. This leaves Russell Martin without an offer from the Yankees at the present time.
Martin is coming off a sub-par season in which he hit just .211, but he did manage to hit 21 home runs and showed improvement over the season’s final weeks. His BABIP of .222 (his career mark is .286) shows he had some bad luck which has the Yankees and reportedly six other teams looking at Martin as an option behind the plate. Martin is considered an average to above average catcher, but gets good reviews from his pitching staff.
The Yankees are in a position where they have no one in the minor league system ready to step up in 2013 or maybe even 2014, so they’ll likely have to make Martin a multiyear offer, something offer teams will be willing to do as well because of a thin market.
According to George King of the New York Post, Martin has yet to hear from the Yankees and he probably won’t until the club is able to secure Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. The Yankees, despite their desire to lower payroll over the next couple seasons, have the ability to wait on Martin because he needs the team in the mix in order to drive the price up on other clubs. King mentions that industry experts place Martin’s value in the neighborhood of a three-year $8-10 million per season range.
Pettitte decision a week away?
Speaking of Pettitte, the southpaw could make a decision on returning by the end of next week according to a tweet from CBS Sports reporter Jon Heyman. Again, the Yankees have not made an offer to Pettitte at this time and it is uncertain how much of a raise Pettitte is going to expect to ask for. Pettitte started the 2012 season in May due to his late decision to return from retirement and the fractured ankle he sustained kept him off the mound for almost three months.
That left Pettitte with only 12 starts for the season, but he was very good in those games compiling a 5-4 record with a 2.87 ERA. Pettitte is another perfect one-year solution for the Yankees, much like Hiroki Kuroda. The Yankees are willing to spend in 2013 so long as it doesn’t interfere with their plans for 2014 and beyond. Should Pettitte decide to retire for good, the Yankees will have to decide if they want to have both David Phelps and Ivan Nova in the rotation along with CC Sabathia, Kuroda and Phil Hughes, or enter the free-agent/trade market for a middle-tiered starting pitcher.