Russell Martin's Success Leaves Sour Taste In New York Yankees' Mouths

By Adam Fischer
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees got to enjoy watching the playoffs from their couches this year and after the first Wild Card game, there were some scarring images that can’t be erased from their psyche until next season.

I’m of course talking about seeing Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin hitting two home runs to help defeat the Cincinnati Reds to propel the Bucs into the divisional round of the playoffs.

What is most troublesome about this situation is that Martin made his home in the Bronx last year, and the Yankees wanted to retain him for the 2013 season and probably longer than that. However, the Pirates stole him out from under the Yanks’ noses and they thus had to settle with putting Chris Stewart behind the plate for 109 games.

A fun fact is that Martin hit half the homers that Stewart had the entire year last night. Chris is not a player that is able to catch the majority of a major league team’s games. Before this year, the most times he’s been sent behind the plate had been just 67 times. His body was not used to the wear and tear of working the majority of the season, and this was evident at the end of the year when he let too many balls get by him — surely a sign of fatigue because he is a good defensive catcher.

The Yanks’ first option after Martin signed with the Pirates was Francisco Cervelli, but he broke his hand in April and did not play the rest of the season. He was also linked to the Biogenesis scandal and was suspended for 50 games, thus putting his year in complete irrelevancy.

He should be back next year at full strength and will most likely be the starter on opening day, but it doesn’t get the bad taste out of the Yankees’ mouths watching Martin drive the bus to St. Louis, where the divisional round will start tomorrow.

And to pour salt on the Yankees’ collective wounds, their former pitcher who they severely overpaid, A.J. Burnett, will start Game 1.


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