Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays and the troublesome decline of Russell Martin

TORONTO, ON - MAY 23: Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after flying out to end the eighth inning during MLB game action against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre on May 23, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 23: Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after flying out to end the eighth inning during MLB game action against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre on May 23, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin can undoubtedly still impact a ball game in more ways than just with his stick as we all witnessed yesterday however the offensive decline is troublesome for a team still on the hook for another season at a cool $20 million.

The Blue Jays are in a precarious position while in the midst of a rebuild they are anchored down by the contracts of Russell Martin and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki who hasn’t suited up for a game in almost a year.

Martin is embattled in the worst offensive season of his career batting .181/.324/.296 with 7 home runs in 65 games. The 35-year old backstop has seen his average progressively drop in each of his four seasons in Toronto. The Montreal native batted .240 in 2015, .231 in 2016, .221 in 2017 and then .181 thus far this season.

Although Martin can impact a game with his game calling or as we saw yesterday with his defensive prowess, the bat is a growing concern especially with Danny Jansen making waves in Triple-A and poised for a call-up.

https://twitter.com/BlueJays/status/1021109992324255747

Martin has actually picked up the pace batting .243 so far in July, his previous monthly totals were .156 in April, .175 through May and .188 in June. Numbers that are definitely nothing to write home about and paint a picture of a prolonged decline.

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Even more, troubling is Martin’s inability to cash in runners in scoring position, the backstop is hitting an uninspiring .213 with men on base, a mere 10 hits and 10 ribbies in 56 plate appearances.

In 9 games versus their division rival Yankees, Martin has 2 hits and 8 strikeouts in 35 plate appearances good for a .069 average. Martin has provided Manager John Gibbons with some defensive versatility playing shortstop, third base and left field when called upon.

Although we all had a front seat for the moving of Vernon Wells and his monstrous contract, it would appear the Blue Jays will be saddled with the financial obligations owing to both Martin and Tulo for the remainder of their respective pacts.

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On a positive front, Martin at least brings intangibles that aren’t always captured in the daily box scores to the field on the daily, let’s just hope he can reinvent his offensive approach and begin to contribute a little more regularly at the dish.

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