Blue Jays Morning Brew: Life After Russell Martin Signing
It certainly has quieted down since last week’s flurry of Blue Jays activity. These days, we seem to be limited to analyzing the fallout from a bust week. But, let’s take a look at what’s being discussed in Blue Jay Land.
At the Toronto Sun, Bob Elliott breaks down how the signing of Russell Martin took place. It is well worth the read. Bob walks us through the events and days leading up to the Blue Jays’ largest free agent contract ever. I always find these stories fascinating. I like seeing how things take shape. It brings more of a realistic, human entity that is often missing when you get your news in 140 character flashes.
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi also breaks down the time leading up to Martin’s signing. He offers a bit of a different take than Elliott. Shi’s account elaborated with comments from several people involved in the process. But, it also has some interesting bits of info about the Blue Jays pursuit of Victor Martinez. Apparently, their pursuit was very real as they envisioned him hitting between Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Imagine that for a second.
At the National Post, John Lott tells us that Martin’s Canadian heritage wasn’t the only reason he chose Toronto, but now that he’s signed, he can enjoy that fact. He can bring his family in a lot easier, he can wear the maple leaf with a lot more thought and awareness than most players do. It actually means something to him.
Shi Davidi takes a look at Martin’s ability to frame pitches and what that will mean for the Blue Jays. Apparently, Martin has averaged 157 extra strikes per season over the last seven. That’s just over 52 outs or just under two FULL GAMES worth of outs. That is pretty impressive. For comparison, Dioner Navarro LOST 109.7 strikes last season. That is over 36 outs or a game and a third. It is easy to see why pitchers would want to throw to Martin. And with younger pitchers ready to explode onto the scene, it is easy to see why the Blue Jays wanted him to catch them.
One such excited youngster is Marcus Stroman. According to Brendan Kennedy of The Star, Stroman heard about the signing on Twitter and is pumped to throw to Martin. He says: “I’ve heard nothing but good things about him from everyone around the league — how great defensively he is, how he holds runners, how he blocks, how he calls the game. It seems like every pitcher who has thrown to him has nothing but high praise for him.”
In case you were wondering, there is more beyond the Martin signing. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith gives us his take on what is next for the Blue Jays. Alex Anthopoulos will try to do something with Dioner Navarro, who although the GM won’t admit to it, Nicholson-Smith says has asked to be traded. Considering the list of teams who pursued Martin and Navarro’s $5M contract, there may be plenty of suitors. Interestingly enough, AA says he would still like to bring Melky Cabrera back. Really? So, that ship hasn’t sailed. Interesting. As well, there is the obvious issue of the club doing nothing to address their actual needs…like second base and the bullpen.
More from Toronto Blue Jays News
- Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. open to a long-term contract
- Blue Jays: Snapping cold streaks at the right time
- Who Should the Blue Jays Extend First: Guerrero, Bichette or Manoah?
- Blue Jays now hold the top Wild Card spot, and yes that’s a good thing
- Blue Jays may have the tools to use a Bullpen Day
One such target that would help their areas of need may be Torii Hunter. Bryan McWilliam of Sportsnet.ca quotes Ken Rosenthal as saying the Blue Jays are pursuing hunter because they don’t feel confident about bringing Melky back. For the record, if the club does end up retaining Melky Cabrera, I call dibs on the “I’m bringing Melky back” (a la Justin Timberlake) line!
At The Star, Richard Griffin says that we should not be so sure that Melky is indeed leaving Toronto. Yes! I may get to use that line yet. He echoes the belief that the Blue Jays want him back, but may have played it very intelligently. By letting him test the market, Melky may see that some teams will be scared off by his PED use and wonder if 2014 was a fluke. If that is the case, the Jays’ offer may actually be appropriate. It is indeed a dangerous game of chicken to be playing, but as time goes on, the Blue Jays may end up looking better and better. But, as Griffin points out, if they do not sign Melky and have to go with the current options of Kevin Pillar, Andy Dirks, John Mayberry Jr with Dalton Pompey and Jose Bautista, the 2015 Blue Jays will be worse off.