Last night, I posed a bit of a question on Twitter. I asked, if the Yankees sign Russell Martin, which is definitely a possibility, what happens to their current catchers?
Jorge Posada doesn’t count. He’s the DH. I’m sure he’ll see a handful (more maybe a bit more than that) at catcher, but he’s no longer a C/DH. He’s a DH/C. I mean Jesus Montero and Francisco Cervelli. There are two ways I see this shaking out:
A) The acquisition of Russell Martin means that Jesus Montero will not be starting the season with the New York Yankees. Now, we can take that two ways. One means that the Yankees sign Martin and use him as a starting catcher while Jesus Montero gets a little more seasoning in AAA. There are obvious advantages to this. While Montero raked in the second half, a little more time in the minors (usually) never hurt anyone (Ryan Howard, Andrew McCutchen). He could work on his approach at the plate which, while good, could probably use some fine tuning. He did have solid walk rate of 9.1%, but his K% jumped up to just over 20%. The 20% K rate isn’t that bad considering Montero’s power, but it’s the highest of his career by far. And there were all sorts of conflicting reports about his defense. Was it improved? Did it deteriorate? Letting him work on it for a bit in the minors without real pressure would be a good thing. The seasoning argument is definitely one that can be made.
The other thought is that if Montero isn’t with the Yankees to start 2011, it’ll be because the Yankees will have traded him. I’m not sold that this will happen, but if the Yankees sign Martin after failing to sign Cliff Lee, it’s a possibility. That possibility is even more ramped up if Andy Pettitte does indeed retire. I’m not exactly sure this course of action is even necessary, but I definitely won’t rule it out.
B) Acquiring Russell Martin makes Francisco Cervelli very expendable. Moshe Tweeted that he thinks this will happen. If the Yankees sign Martin, Cervelli will be moved for depth in the form of a reliever/platoon bat/utility guy, if not sent down. Sending Cervelli down wouldn’t be an awful idea. If Montero’s on the big team catching and Martin is there, too, there is no need for Cervelli. Starting him in AAA allows the Yankees to let Austin Romine begin the year at AA. He hit a bit of a wall last year and could use some extra time in the Eastern League before moving to the International League. The counter to that, though, is that putting him in AAA ruins Cervelli’s trade value a bit.
Cervelli’s value is already low since a) he’s not that good and b) had a (perceived) bad season in 2010. Having him start in AAA shoots that value even more. But, at the same time, it’s not like Cervelli would be the centerpiece of a trade or bring more than what Moshe suggested. If the Yankees get Martin, I don’t care much what they do with Cervelli. Trade him? Fine. Stash him in AAA for a rainy day? Cool.
Out of these options, though, I guess I’d go with option A.1: letting Martin start for a time while Montero gets some more seasoning in Scranton. I think Montero is definitely ready to start for the Yankees behind the plate, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to see more AAA at bats first.
Other notes: It appears my Mark Prior wish could come true. I don’t know how much upside is there anymore, but it’s worth it. I think we’ve all always wanted Prior in some way. Now, the Yankees could have him.
Friend of the blog Tyler Wilkinson had a suggestion last night. If the divisions were named after players, whom would each be named for? My thoughts:
ALE: Babe Ruth
ALC: Ty Cobb
ALW: Rod Carew
NLE: Jackie Robinson
NLC: Stan Musial
NLW: Willie Mays
What do you guys think?
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