It seems that only Dodger fans don’t understand what we have – a player who is still among the best options at his position. The idea that Martin will get an automatic raise, one this article seems to share, is really unfounded. He may well stagnate, especially if he signs a 2 year deal as is thought might happen. Also, the issues with BABIP and power are interesting to note. Very few have paid attention to just when Martin’s bat tailed off. Right when Don Mattingley took over. Indeed, he was on pace to better his 2007 season in 2008 when Mattingley’s new approach, which worked well for Ethier and Kemp, seemed to make him too tentative (as opposed to just patient) and seemed to increase the uppercut in his swing.
He should at least be tendered. There are absolutely zero better options on the market.
“There are absolutely zero better options on the market.”
That’s the key right there. Unless the Dodgers aren’t planning on competing, who are they going to replace him with? As a Red Sox fan, we’d scoop him up in a heartbeat on the off chance he is even a slightly above average starting catcher.
People wouldn’t even say this if his first two seasons weren’t so good. He’s still an average or above average catcher, getting paid reasonably. What’s the big deal?
Russell Martin reminds me of a younger Craig Biggio. For those who remember Biggio started out in the bigs as a catcher for the Astros. After a couples of season he was moved to the infield to prolong his career. I think the Dodgers should take a page from the Stros and move Martin into the infield and take advantage of his quickness at third base maybe. When the Dodgers drafted Martin, he was an infielder I believe he played SS. I’m not saying that Martin is washed up as a catcher, but he might be better off in the length of his overall career with a move to the infield now verses latter. I certainly believe that Martin is very capable behind the plate and above average for a MLB catcher. I just believe that Martin will breakdown sooner rather than latter in my opinion.
Sometimes catchers take longer to mature than other position players. Its possible that’s the case with Russell. I wouldn’t non-tender him. Besides, the bar for catcher is quite low and he’s still a legit option for starter at a very thin position.
He’s entering his Age 28 season so he could be poised for a breakout (or in his case a return to his early promise). He’s still got a very solid arm (39% caught stealing rate in 2010) and his defense isn’t terrible overall.
The only reason that Martin has value is because he is behind the plate. A guy w/ a .300 wOBA would be one of the worst 3B in baseball, even if he was an average defensive player, and there’s no reason to believe he would be anything but poor at the hot corner. You’d have to think that moving him to 3B would reduce his value a minimum of 7.5 runs positionally, plus he he would go from being at least an average defender to probably 5-10 runs, at least, below average defensively. Moving him from behind the plate to third would cost the Dodgers about 1.5 wins at a minimum, and possibly more.
I think there could be an argument for Torrealba on the basis that he could be had cheaper and could provide similar production. If Ned needs the extra cash for a bat, I’m ok wtih going for a cheaper replacement. Otherwise they should bring him back.
As someone said before, if the Dodgers want to non-tender Martin (please do, I’m sure you can find better, cheaper options on the market), I’m all for it as a Red Sox fan. Bring in a catcher who, at the very least, has a solid OBP and defense. Bostonians won’t get excited (because most people here are wannabe-experts who still can’t wrap their head around RBI’s not being a great statistic), but it beats trading for Napoli.
BTW, is it hilarious that no one has ever slapped the non-tender threat on James Loney (.267/.329/.395), but they have on Russ Martin (.248/.347/.332), while Loney is an average-ish 1B v. a relatively good C in Martin?
Actually never mind, this is the Dodgers. How much warm and fuzzy you generate is more important to Colletti than how good at baseball you actually are.
Not sure what’s with the Napoli hate. The guy can flat out rake. The fact he’s stuck behind Mathis is one of the most inexplicable things in baseball. It doesn’t seem like it’d take much to get him considering how much his manger likes to not actually play him.
Martin reminds me of Jason Kendall as a comp, both in terms of skill set and in terms of how far he was driven into the ground by a crazy manager.
Jason Kendall got that ridiculously huge contract that sunk the Pirates for years. I’m expecting that Russell Martin extension from Ned that basically does the same thing. Seems more likely than a non-tender.