Russell Martin signed with the Yankees in the off-season after being let go by the Dodgers heading into his sixth major league season. Martin started off his career in LA looking like he was the next Paul Lo Duca, showing off plenty of pop behind the plate. Unfortunately for Dodgers fans, he continued to follow the Lo Duca career path by falling off in production not only as the season went on, but also as his career went on.
Martin was an All-Star in ’07 and ’08, hitting for power, drawing walks, and stealing bases as a catcher. He caught in 151 and then 155 games those years, burning himself out. On top of injuries and burn outs, Martin now tells the National Post in Canada that his work ethic weakened the last two seasons.
“I had some distractions that maybe led me not to have that same drive that I’ve had in the past,” he said. “Really, that’s all it is, honestly. I didn’t train quite as–I trained hard, but before, nobody trained as hard as I did.”
It’s not the first time we’ve heard from Martin that personal issues began to interfere with his preparation, and Yankee fans certainly won’t like hearing that. LA is a night out with grandma compared to the media scrutiny in New York. Martin says he selected the Yanks because they were going to give him the chance to catch more than Toronto would have.
Let me say that I don’t believe preparation is the only reason Martin dropped off the last two years. Let me also say that if distractions were bothering him in LA, he’ll be sucked in even worse in NYC. The Yanks better hope Jesus Montero is the goods because Martin isn’t the answer at catcher.