There are a lot of players around Major League Baseball who have a chip on their shoulder going into the 2013 season. I think one of those players has to be Russell Martin. Martin signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason after a fairly solid season in 2012 but has to be wondering why the New York Yankees didn’t want him any more. Martin may be out to prove that he can still play and be successful on a daily basis.
Martin finished last season with 21 home runs, a career-high but hit just .211 which was a career-low. Martin is going to be trusted to get a Pittsburgh rotation on track for an entire season so the Pirates don’t crumble under the second half pressure for the third straight year. Martin is only 30 years old and while he has a ton of experience behind the plate, he has never been to a World Series. This could be the season where Martin moves closer to that goal in Pittsburgh.
If Martin is going to be successful for the Pirates, he is going to need to hit much better than he did last year obviously. Pittsburgh can’t afford to have a catcher hitting .211 even if it comes with 21 home runs. There are plenty of very talented pieces around Martin in Pittsburgh along with former teammate A.J. Burnett. Martin probably has another four or five years left in him and will bring veteran leadership to Pittsburgh but he must be even better than he was last season with his average and behind the plate.