UPDATE: Martin’s agent told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York that the Yankees are now pitching the idea of figuring out a three-year deal that would cancel out his one-year contract, but “negotiations are in the early stages.”
Russell Martin and the Yankees avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $7.5 million contract back in January, but the catcher revealed yesterday that the two sides had discussed a three-year extension before settling on the one-season pact.
Martin will be eligible for free agency after the season, but made it pretty clear to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he hopes to remain in New York long term, saying: “I love being here. Just the guys, the organization, the way they handle their business, it’s a fun environment.”
He got off to a great start last season and made the All-Star team, but then slumped after April and finished with with a career-low .237 batting average and .324 on-base percentage. He did smack 18 homers, which were Martin’s most since 2007, and produced a .732 OPS that was solidly above average for catchers.
Oh, and the 29-year-old catcher is in The Best Shape Of His Life. Again.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.