Blue Jays and the “Glue Guy”

TORONTO, ON - JULY 24: Russell Martin
TORONTO, ON - JULY 24: Russell Martin /

Recently, in the Players Tribune, retired catcher David Ross talked about glue guys in baseball and gave his list of the best in the game. 

After reading David Ross‘ article on glue guys in the Player’s Tribune, it got me thinking. These are some of the most important players on a team, even if they aren’t the best. Some of them just happen to be great players, guys like Yadier Molina, Dustin Pedroia, and Adrian Beltre, who were all listed by Ross.

However, there are some, like Ross himself, who don’t add most of their value to the team through their play. They add value by being a good veteran presence who holds the team together.

Ross gave his definition of what a glue guy is, saying:

"Basically, it’s a guy who — in baseball clubhouses that often have age gaps, varying talent levels and even language barriers — just sort of keeps everything together.You know, like glue."

These are the players who get to the clubhouse early, work with the rookies, takes extra hits in the batting cage, and leaves late. I got to thinking, who in the Jays clubhouse is the glue guy? It’s hard to know for sure, having never been in the clubhouse, and not knowing any of the players, but we can see from their play and interactions on the field and in the dugout, who the guy who holds the team together is.

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There are a few guys on this Jays team that could hold this title. Among them is catcher Russell Martin, third baseman Josh Donaldson, and right fielder Jose Bautista. Now, teams don’t just have one glue guy. Ross included Dexter Fowler and Molina, both of the Cardinals, and Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, both of the Astros. So, the Jays could have more than one glue guy, it doesn’t just have to be narrowed down to one.

Among the Jays candidates, I’d give Martin and Donaldson the nods for the title of Glue Guy. Usually, the starting catcher on a team is the incumbent leader, kind of like a point guard in basketball. The whole game rests in the hands and fingers of the catcher, and they have to know every single hitter on every team. The catcher is also usually the smartest guy on the team. There’s a reason why people say catchers make the best managers. They know the game inside and out.

But what makes Martin a glue guy is his experience. He’s played on four different teams, in both leagues, and has played in nine post seasons. Martin gels with most pitching staffs he’s put with and is one of the most veteran guys on a fairly balanced (age wise) Jays team.

The reason I added Donaldson was the intensity he plays with he runs out every hit and dives for foul balls. When a player on your team plays that hard, it’s infectious, and you feel like playing that hard.

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Martin and Donaldson together make up what you want in a glue guy. A veteran who has seen it all, and a player who plays with such intensity, it spreads to other players. While this is just my guess as to who holds the Jays together, I don’t think it’s hard to imagine these two as the glue guys on the Blue Jays.