I am simply astonished to see how often Joe Torre is making Russell Martin catch all 9 innings in interleague matchups in AL parks so far this year.
Given Martin’s well-known wearing down at the end of the past two seasons due to overuse, and the fact that his poor performance this season may well be related, away games in AL parks seem like golden chances to keep Martin’s bat in the lineup while resting his aching body.
And yet, so far in 5 out of 7 such games so far this season, Joe Torre has pencilled Martin in at catcher, giving the DH duties to someone else. This makes no sense whatsover, especially since backup Brad Ausmus is a well-respected game-caller who is batting .305 with a .375 OBP so far this year and is getting paid very well for a backup catcher – he should be used. And even moreso, as mentioned, Martin could really use the rest.
I mean, I could understand if Joe Torre had some big bat off the bench that he really wanted to get into the game as DH, but the two guys he has been DH’ing instead of Martin are 37-year-old Mark Loretta (.635 OPS this season) and minor league emergency call-up Mitch Jones, neither of whom is anyone’s idea of a “big bat.”
Has there ever been a bigger gap between a manager’s reputation and his actual in-game lack of managerial skills than in the case of Joe Torre?