Free Agent Focus: Russell Martin
In case you haven’t heard, the Dodgers have non-tendered catcher Russell Martin, making him a free agent.
Immediately, Mets fans might think, “hey, this guy is a perfect fit for us”. After all, he is a 27-year-old, righthanded-hitting catcher with promising offensive skills who can also play third base and probably the outfield if necessary. In fact, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti suggested that he could also play second base.
However, Martin is also coming off of a major hip injury that ended his 2010 season in early August. Additionally, his offensive performance fell off drastically since 2008 — particularly in terms of power — and has been on a steady decline since hitting 19 HRs and posting an .843 OPS in 2007.
For the record, I’ve always been a big fan of Martin — so much so that I suggested in October 2008 that the Mets acquire him in a deal for Carlos Beltran (funny, I figured Beltran’s value was peaking back then).
I still would love to see Martin come to the Mets, but it appears to be unlikely — mainly because there are a number of better, deeper-pocketed teams already clamoring for his services. For one, the Dodgers are still negotiating with Martin, and the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rockies are all reportedly bidding for his services as well. Unfortunately, I don’t see the Mets competing with those teams from a financial standpoint, and I doubt that Martin would choose the rebuilding Mets over clubs that have a more more realistic shot at the 2011 playoffs.