Red Sox Rumors: Is Stealing Russell Martin from the Yankees the Right Move?

Mark MillerCorrespondent INovember 9, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees bats against the Baltimore Orioles  during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on October 10, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

With the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees always at each other's throats, winning positional battles in the offseason can make a huge impact during the summer months as they jockey for positioning atop the AL East.

The Yankees have plenty of moves to make this offseason with players like Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano declining their qualifying offers and opting for free agency instead.

Their gaps may not end there with catcher Russell Martin also entering a relatively thin free-agent market at the catcher position.

Enter the Red Sox.

After making move after move last season, Boston has plenty of maneuvering to make this offseason as they reshape their roster to get back into contention this season.

Working with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach as their primary backstops in 2012, the Red Sox got a 25-home-run effort from Saltalamacchia, though he batted under .225 and posted an on-base percentage under .300.

He'll be with the Sox again in 2013, but it appears that they may be looking at bringing in reinforcements at backstop, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has reported that Boston has been talking about the notion of bringing in Russell Martin.

It's not entirely unheard of for a player to move from one rival to another, but with every move magnified as a season gets into full swing, it's important to make sure that big moves pay big dividends.

Martin's numbers this past season weren't much of an improvement over Saltalamacchia's, as he batted a shade over .200 but did manage a .311 on-base percentage.

From a career standpoint, however, Martin's track record is more polished, with three 18-plus home-run seasons and a career batting average more than 20 points higher.

He's more stout defensively as well, with a career .991 fielding percentage while throwing out 30 percent of stolen-base attempts.

If the Red Sox are looking to get the most out of any player they sign, it's possible they'll run with Saltalamacchia and also sign Mike Napoli (h/t Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe), who is steady offensively and can fill in behind the plate while bridging the gap at first base left by Adrian Gonzalez.

With plenty of payroll to work with, there's no reason that Boston can't (and shouldn't) make a move at both players, giving them an offensive jolt that accounted for 45 home runs and 109 RBI in 2012.