Apparently the Yankees and Russell Martin have fairly different ideas of what the catcher’s long-term worth is.
Following a round of negotiations this week, GM Brian Cashman said Friday that the two sides have “mutually agreed to wait” on working out an extension beyond 2012.
The 29-year-old Martin will make $7.5 million this season after avoiding arbitration with the Yankees. He signed with the Bombers as a free agent a year ago after being non-tendered by the Dodgers. He didn’t have the service time necessary to become a free agent through normal means after last season, but he will after this year.
CBS Sports.com’s Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees were willing to give Martin a three-year, $20 million deal this winter. That, however, would have amounted to a modest paycut.
Martin stands to join a bumper crop of free agent catchers this winter, with Yadier Molina, Miguel Montero and Mike Napoli all eligible as well. That might make Martin more amenable to a midseason deal, considering that he probably rates behind the other three players in the group in the eyes of most. Still, there’s no way he’s going to settle for less annually the $7.5 million he’s guaranteed for 2012.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.
On Monday, we learned that the Mets offered to swap catchers with the Brewers, Travis d'Arnaud for Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers, as expected, turned that down. The two still continue to discuss a trade involving Lucroy, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
The Mets certainly could use some help at catcher. The club has gotten an aggregate .608 OPS from their backstops, the fourth-lowest mark in baseball, ahead of only the Pirates, Rays, and Indians. However, the Mets seem to be behind other teams — including a “mystery” team — in the bidding, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.
Lucroy, who took Thursday off, is batting .300/.361/.486 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 371 plate appearances for the Brewers this season. He can become a free agent after the season if his controlling club opts against picking up his $5.25 million option for the 2017 season.