Thus far in the 2012 season, Russell Martin has posted less than impressive statistics at the plate. In 11 games, Martin is currently hitting .148 with only four hits and nine strikeouts.
Obviously, there is no need to panic about his stat line yet, especially because he has previously been stellar behind the plate.
The area of concern, however, comes with his contract negotiations.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports posted this tweet about Martin's current contract situation:
#yankees have no plans to negotiate soon w/ free-agent-to-be russell martin. yanks generally dont talk $ in season
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 19, 2012
Since the Yankees don't usually discuss future contracts during the season, this isn't too surprising.
Currently, Martin is playing under a one-year, $7.5 million contract. In February, Heyman confirmed reports that the Yankees were in negotiations with Martin, where they were willing to offer him $20 million over three years.
Yankees multiyear talks w/ martin never got off ground in winter, they'll revisit in season. Nyy would do $20M-3 yrs. Russell seeks raise
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 24, 2012
Martin reportedly felt that this was too low, and after seeing Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals land a $75 million deal, he likely feels that he deserves to be paid more than he's making this year.
If Martin fails to bring his batting average up, the Yankees may not feel that he is worth more than $20 million over three years.
If he brings his average up significantly, the Yankees could even be outbid by a team that is willing to pay Martin more than what the Bronx Bombers are.
Russell Martin is a significant part of the Yankees defense, and fans and the organization would hate to see go.
With Martin set to be a free agent after the 2012-2013 MLB season, the rest of the year will tell his fate.