Entering the offseason, the New York Yankees were viewed as the most likely destination for free agent catcher Russell Martin. Ultimately, the Pittsburgh Pirates swooped in and offered the veteran a contract New York failed to match. As a result, Martin no longer calls the Big Apple home, and Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York outlines several reasons why the Bombers will miss their former backstop.
Marchand leads with an interesting reason; Yankees general manager Brian Cashman viewed Martin as a "Munson-like" player. He's of course referring to former Yankees' catcher Thurman Munson, and Cashman believed Martin brought a similar toughness to the position.
Manager Joe Girardi prefers a defense-first catcher behind the plate, and he enjoyed having Martin on his team for his understanding of baseball and ability to call a game.
Martin hit 21 home runs during the regular season, and Marchand questions if potential replacements Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart can combine for half as many. Not only did Martin provide the long ball, but he also proved a clutch power hitter in October.
Last but not least, according to Marchand, Martin was a good media guy. He considered Martin a "go-to-guy" for the media, which helped take the pressure off other Yankees' players. He believes this attribute of Martin is "worth something in terms of clubhouse dynamics over a very long season."