According to the latest New York Mets rumors, the team has checked in on veteran catcher Russell Martin. Backup catcher Tomas Nido should feel the heat.
Russell Martin was one of my favorite players of the last decade. I know how strange this sounds. But the man helped me capture a fantasy baseball championship in 2015 which I then used the winnings to buy my wife an engagement ring. So when I saw his name come up in recent New York Mets rumors, I got a little excited.
Then I dug a little deeper as I do when any new player has his name appear in Mets rumors. Martin is a long way off from his All-Star season in 2015 when he was in his early 30s and in the first year of a bad contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Martin steadily declined over the years while playing less and less. Following a season where he hit .290/.402/.430 for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014, everything about the veteran backstop’s game changed.
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Flash forward to the present day and Martin is coming off of three straight years of hitting no higher than .221. In addition to this, he’s a part-time player.
While the Mets’ interest in him certainly wouldn’t require playing time with Wilson Ramos around, I’m not so sure how effective Martin could even be as a backup player.
With that said, the reported interest in him should motivate Tomas Nido to perform better this spring. Hopefully, Nido isn’t one to shy away from Mets rumors. His job is on the bubble whether he realizes it or not.
Nido is not a future everyday catcher. That much is clear. However, the out-of-options catcher could become one of the game’s better reserve catchers.
Already in his short career, Nido has developed a reputation as a solid defender. Pitchers—at least Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard—have enjoyed working with him. There’s a market out there for him even if his bat never does much more than it has thus far.
Mets rumors have quieted down in the last few weeks. There’s no more speculation about the Mets trading Dominic Smith or dumping Jed Lowrie and his 20-pound walking boot to the American League. Spring training is underway and so are the end of Mets rumors—with the exception of the latest about Martin.
Martin remains one of the game’s better-known catchers available in free agency. At this stage of the game, retirement is a likelier course than settling on a minor league deal.
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The Mets have a decision to make before Opening Day involving Nido whether Martin makes his way to St. Lucie or not. The return of Rene Rivera gave him a little competition. The possible addition of a guy like Martin would only further add some pressure.