Because we can’t go one day without some insanely ridiculous rumors popping up. I’m not complaining; the offseason rumor mill is in many ways my favorite time of the year. It’s just that some of these things… well look, they’re the kind of thing you expect to hear in a sports bar somewhere. But when these come from major media sources that millions of people are going to read and believe, then, well, isn’t this why blogs like mine exist?
Let’s spin the wheel! No whammies, no whammies, no whammies… stop!
Ahh, damn. The New York Post. There’s a whammy if I’ve ever seen one.
You want a surprise name that could end up out on the trade market? How about Dodgers catcher Russell Martin? Rival executives say the Dodgers are not overly enamored with his makeup and at a time when front-line catchers are hard to find, Los Angeles could decide to see what his value is. The Tigers, Marlins and Reds are all looking for catching, and the Red Sox would be, too, if free agent Jason Varitek departed.
I always, always love the “makeup” charge. Unless you’re talking about someone like Barry Bonds or Milton Bradley, “makeup” almost always means “young guy who might still make youthful mistakes.” How long have we been hearing such things about Matt Kemp, Jonathan Broxton, etc.? In Martin’s case, either a “rival executive” is making things up, or someone in the Dodger front office needs to have their head examined. He’s intense, he wants nothing more than to play every day, and we’ve seen him become a leader of the team since nearly the day he was called up in 2006. Unless he’s spending his spare time killing hookers, what exactly is the problem here? I feel like if Joe Torre was really having a problem with Martin, he’d have been a little more willing to sit him every now and then.
Makeup aside, I really have a hard time taking this kind of rumor seriously. I mean, as Joel Sherman says himself, “front-line catchers are hard to find.” So what exactly are the Dodgers supposed to do if they were to move Martin? They already traded away their only top catching prospect this season in Carlos Santana, not that he’d be ready to take over in 2009 anyway. Does anyone really want to see the 2009 team open the season with Johnny Estrada or Michael Barrett or Josh Bard at catcher? Because that’s what the free agent catching market looks like. Which – while it would make Russell Martin an extremely valuable commodity – is also exactly the reason you do not even consider trading him. I mean, just the thought is mind-blowing. He’s 25 years old, a two-time All Star, and even in a season in which most of us felt he took a step back offensively still finished fifth among all MLB catchers in VORP. Unless we’re dealing Martin for Peavy straight up here, there is almost no scenario in which trading Martin is a good idea.
And no, by all means, do not mention the idea of “let’s move Martin to 3B and sign Varitek!” around me. Just don’t.
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness