Top Five Padres Free Agent Options Countdown
By Matt Mirro
Number 5: Russell Martin- Catcher
Sep 10, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin (55) hits a two RBI single during the first inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Age: 31; Bats/Throws: Right/Right; 2014 Numbers: .290 batting average, 11 HR, 67 RBI, .402 OPS
Catching is a position the Padres may need to cover for the time being. With the 25-year old Yasmani Grandal still in need of some growth for his all around game the organization may wish to bring in a veteran presence to help mentor him while he serves as the backup. Russell Martin may be that guy.
Martin’s nine year career has sent him through Los Angeles with the Dodgers, New York with the Yankees and after two seasons with the Pirates the 31-year old has hit the free agent market once again. Martin is an excellent defensive catcher, known for his impeccable work with the pitching staff and fast reflexes. He’s a consistent power hitter but the cavernous PETCO Park may sap some of his power.
The Pirates are prepared to add significant salary in order to retain him but the Padres could beat them out. But are they willing to offer him a contract around $15 million dollars a season? Would they sacrifice a draft pick to sign him now that it seems the Pirates will extend him a qualifying offer? These are the factors that may cause the Padres to pass him up and continue to allow Grandal to learn as he goes along.
Still, Martin would help to make the team better and he should be among the discussion within the Padres front office this off season.