The New York Yankees officially signed former Dodgers catcher Russell Martin last Thursday, telling the former All-Star, who has endured some hardship the last two seasons, that he will be the team’s starter behind the plate.
But the impact of signing could go much further than simply finding a replacement for Jorge Posada, who will transition into his new role as a switch-hitting designated hitter.
Russell Martin represents an upgrade defensively behind the plate for the Yankees. Martin has tossed out base stealers at a 31 percent clip for his career and 39 percent last season.
He came up as an in-fielder in the Dodgers organization and the very versatile player can also add value if needed around the bases.
But this one part of the story is where the fans of Los Angeles lose a favorite son. Martin was brought up with the Dodgers. If you gaze around the stadium, you’ll notice No. 55 jerseys are literally everywhere in sight.
Perhaps his lack in production was not what the team’s management hoped for, but he is young (27) and talented enough to become an All-Star yet again. I believe not signing Russell may haunt the Dodgers organization for years to come.
It’s heartrending to see Martin part ways and head for the hated Yankees, but fans in Los Angeles wish him all the best and thank him for many great years at catcher. (Raise your glass.)