Despite being unable to make the big move in signing Cliff Lee, the New York Yankees continue to add to their roster for the upcoming season. Just recently it was announced that New York has signed two players, Mark Prior and Russell Martin.
Martin is a former All-Star that the Yankees hope can once again find his offensive potential. Martin and the Yankees have signed a one year, $4 million deal. Since the catcher has less than five years of service time, he would remain under team control for 2012 as an arbitration eligible player.
The Los Angeles Dodgers non-tendered Martin this month, making him a free agent. The uncertainty of how Martin will return after a hip injury and the statistical decline the past two years likely led to the Dodgers decision. Los Angeles did however attempt to resign Martin, who eventually accepted a deal from the Yankees which is smaller in annual salary.
Martin was once a rising star in the league. He made the All-Star team twice and won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award in 2007. In 2009, Martin’s batting average slipped down to .250 while hitting just seven home runs.
Last year, Martin’s numbers continued to slide. He hit .248 with five home runs and 26 RBI’s in 97 games before suffering a torn labrum which kept him out the remainder of the season.
Martin, who turns just 28 in February, could be the Yankees starting catcher this season. GM Brian Cashman has informed veteran Jorge Posada that he will be used primarily as a designated hitter. Martin will get every opportunity to earn the starting job, competing with Francisco Cervelli and young star Jesus Montero.
New York has also agreed to sign 30 year old pitcher Mark Prior to a minor league contract. The deal states that Prior would make $750K if he makes the major league roster.
After a promising start to his career, Prior had to deal with a bunch of injuries. He has not pitched in the major leagues since 2006. He was a member of the Texas Rangers minor league team last season.
Prior and the Yankees have a history. He was selected 43rd overall by New York in the 1998 draft but the Yankees were unable to sign him. In 2001, the Chicago Cubs selected Prior second overall and he quickly became what many believed would be the next great National League pitcher. The injuries put a stop to that.
The right hander will attempt to join the Yankees major league staff, most likely as a reliever.
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