Russell Martin is making headlines in New York, and it has nothing to do with his .211 batting average. The former Yankee catcher recently called newly acquired, Brian McCann “an expensive mistake”. This off-season, the Yankees signed McCann to a 5-year, $85 million dollar contract. The Pirates catcher seems to think that was a bad move. Or maybe he’s a little bitter. McCann when asked to respond to Martin’s comments, took the high road and simply stated “I’ve got nothing.” What a refreshing approach.
Last off-season, Martin bolted for Pittsburgh after two lousy years in New York. The Pirates made the Ontario native a 2-year deal worth $8.5 million per year. The Yankees chose not to match that offer. That certainly was NOT a mistake. Martin is a good defensive catcher with a little pop and has not hit over .250 since 2008.
Brian McCann may have peaked as a player. However, he is still significantly better than Martin – and will be for the next few years. When you compare the two players who are a year apart and have similar MLB service time, the numbers aren’t close. McCann has almost 70 more home runs and 200 more RBI. His career average is over twenty points higher than Martin’s. Yes, McCann is getting paid a lot more than Martin, and for a lot longer. But that’s what happens to better players. They get better contracts.
One guy is a perennial All-Star. One is a journeyman backstop that never became the player many thought he would be early on. Only time will tell if the Yankees made a mistake by signing Brian McCann, but they did what they had to do for the immediate future. They did what they had to do to get better. Russell Martin would not improve the Yankees like Brian McCann will. And that’s why the Yankees did not make the mistake of resigning Russell Martin.