Brian Cashman says that he can remember as far back as three years ago talking with his right-hand man, Billy Eppler, and agreeing that they thought Russell Martin was "Thurman Munson-like."
Over the past three years, Cashman said he called the Dodgers to try to trade for Martin. Each time Los Angeles told him that Martin was unavailable. (How interesting would that have been with Jorge Posada still firmly the catcher if Martin were brought in?)
This offseason, after the Dodgers non-tendered Martin, making him a free agent on Dec. 2, Eppler called Martin's agent, Matt Colleran, right after midnight, making the Yankees the first team to contact. Eight or nine other teams called Colleran that night, but the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays were the most serious.
Toronto appealed to Martin because of his Canadian roots, but there were no guarantee on playing time. The Red Sox had more questions about Martin's hip that Martin fractured last year. The Yankees wanted Martin, while Martin liked the idea of playing for former catcher in Joe Girardi.
The Yankees signed Martin for $4 million and, after the most exhaustive physical Cashman can ever remember, look as if they may have an All-Star.