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Joe Torre is insane.

We already knew that he has a longstanding penchant for destroying his setup men by overpitching them to a ridiculous extent, but this season he is apparently also determined to destroy his team’s best position player too.

By which I mean the Dodgers’ all-star gold-glove catcher Russell Martin.

russellmartin.jpgGranted, Martin is an amazing player. On a rather offensively challenged Dodgers team, he is batting .312, has a ridiculous .428 OBP, is on pace to walk 112 times, and walks more than he strikes out.

But what is even more ridiculous is that Martin is on pace to play in 162 games. As a catcher.

That’s right – we are more than 25% finished with the 2008 season and Martin has yet to have a single day off. Apparently Joe Torre thinks starting Martin at third base and then moving him back behind the plate in the later innings counts as an adequate day off, but I’m going to have to go ahead and say that is sheer madness.

I may not know much about baseball, but I do know that you are not going to have a very long career if you play all 162 games and spend 99 percent of those games behind the plate as a catcher.

Granted, with the fact that the only backup catcher Ned Colletti handed Torre was no-offense, no-defense Gary Bennett, who has now apparently contracted Mark Wohlers/Rick Ankiel disease as well, it is somewhat understandable that Torre might be loath to sit Martin, but Jesus Christ.

25-year-old, gold glove catchers who OBP .428 do not grow on trees, and it is lunacy to ask one to play every single game for an entire season. There are still 4 months left in the season, so Torre may yet give Martin a day off, but even to ask a catcher to play even two months without rest is pretty insane.

Given the fact that Martin has worn down in each of the last two seasons from overuse, he is almost certain to wear down again this year, if not have a serious career-threatening injury. If you have Martin on your fantasy team, I suggest you trade him now, as Torre is showing no signs of easing up and seems determined to drive the budding young star into the ground.

9 Responses to “Joe Torre is insane.”

  1. Paul Moro says:

    I’ve been curious about this too. And I’ve also been curious as to why the Dodgers stick with Bennett. Is this because they feel badly for him? At this point, he’ll probably clear waivers and they can easily send him down to Vegas to work on this if they don’t want to release him outright.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Paul, the Dodgers actually DL’d Bennett yesterday with “plantar fascitis” and recalled 33-year-old journeyman Danny Ardoin from AAA Las Vegas.

  3. Sarah Green says:

    Nick, I’m glad you pointed this out. As I own Martin in the UmpBump fantasy league, I’ve noticed that almost he never gets days off, just days at third base. I say almost, because he has actually two days off this season. Still, that *is* insanity, when you consider the rest that most catchers get! And considering that he’s a legitimate stolen base threat as well as an on-base and power threat, you’d think Torre would want to rest those legs. Has it been so long since Torre played that he can’t remember what it’s like to play behind the dish?

    There is plenty of backup catching help to be had out there. If the Dodgers needed someone, heck, they could’ve had Mike Piazza again until yesterday!

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Here’s some more on the Torre/Martin deal.

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah, technically Martin has had two days where he didn’t start, but he appeared as a pinch hitter in both of those games, so he is still on pace to appear in all 162 contests. Has there ever been a catcher who appeared in all 162 games of a season in recent memory?

    Also, the last of those two non-starts was April 19, which was more than a month ago now, thanks to Torre’s crafty scheme of starting Martin at third base on occasion and calling it a day off.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    Yeah, sometimes you just need a mental health day. Especially when it’s 72 degrees and sunny and the Friday right before a long weekend.

  7. Lyndsay says:

    and here we are, 1st yankee season without Torre, wondering why Derek Jeter’s and Jorge Posada’s limbs are starting to fall off…Dodgers, take note and hire yourselves a good medical staff.

  8. Lyndsay says:

    AND when he’s not catching, Martin still has to drive Adrien Grenier around, which make his stats even more amazing.

  9. Danny O says:

    Holy crap! Gary Bennett is Mackey Sasser all over again! Maybe this can’t-throw-back-to-the-mound thing is a real syndrome, soon to be recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and included in the DSM.

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