(Evan Brunell/CBSSPORTS.COM) – Now that Russell Martin is a free agent after being non-tendered by the Dodgers, interest is heavy.
Six teams have expressed interest in Martin as a free agent already, as agent Matt Colleran revealed to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports . Colleran added that the Yankees were one of those teams.
As a young catcher, Martin is in demand even as he has hit just .249/.350/.330 over the last 975 plate appearances. From 2006-08, he looked like a longtime star behind the dish — and he has a strong chance to return to that prognosis.
Don’t sleep on the Yankees here, as importing Martin would allow the club to ease Jesus Montero into the starting catcher’s role (or trade him). In fact, New York came close to acquiring Martin prior to the non-tender deadline for Francisco Cervelli as Michael Schmidt of the New York Times reveals. Talks were advanced enough that medicals were swapped, but the trigger simply never got pulled.
One has to think the Yankees were the one to back out of talks over concerns about Martin’s right hip fracture, which is a rare surgery in baseball and even more concerning due to the fact Martin is a catcher. Colleran says the hip is not an issue and is not restricting Martin.
Buster Olney of ESPN also tweets that Martin, who is from Montreal, would like to play on the East Coast. Sounds even better for New York. The Red Sox and Blue Jays are expected to be among the teams inquiring on Martin’s services. And although the Dodgers non-tendered the 27-year-old, L.A. is still expected to talk about Martin’s return.
“The Dodgers may become a different option,” Colleran told FOX Sports. “They see Russ — and they know him very well — as being extremely athletic. Although they may have signed another catcher [The Dodgers are on the verge of signing Rod Barajas], they want to continue discussions with the idea that Russ could come back and catch, play second base and third and a little bit out of outfield to see if he likes something like that in the event he ever wants to transition from behind the plate.”
That’s unlikely, however, given the amount of interest in Martin as a catcher.
— Evan Brunell