According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly actively shopping veteran catcher Russell Martin.
The 35-year old backstop is in the final year of a 5-year contract that will see Russell Martin earn $20 million in 2019. Passan also reported that the Blue Jays would be willing to take on some of the money owing in a prospective deal.
Martin’s offensive decline coupled with the emergence of rookies Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire make the aging catcher dispensible. The Canadian is still a respected presence in the clubhouse and a positive influence on the young pitching staff however his .194/.338/.325 line from 2018 is a tough pill to swallow.
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Former Manager John Gibbons relegated Martin to the bench for the entire month of September as the Jays brain trust opted to take a long look at the kids down the stretch. When it was all said and done, Martin accumulated just five at-bats for the entire month sprinkled over two contests.
His 71 appearances behind the dish were the lowest total of any of his 13 MLB seasons. Martin did also see action in 21 games at the hot corner and another three at shortstop and one in left field last season.
Martin is hardly the feared rifleman he once was behind the plate, he was well below the league average in throwing out runners in 2018. It will be interesting to see what teams express interest in the veteran catcher and just how much of the contract the Blue Jays will have to swallow to make Martin an attractive acquisition.
Perhaps a reunion with the Los Angeles Dodgers is a likely fit as their previous catcher Yasmani Grandal is testing the free agent waters. Martin could form a tandem with Austin Barnes for the 2019 campaign allowing catching prospect Keibert Ruiz another season to hone his craft in the minors.
Regardless of what transpires, it appears the tools of ignorance have finally caught up to the aging Canuck as he enters the final year of his pact with the Blue Jays.