In a not so surprising development, the Blue Jays have traded their veteran catcher Russell Martin to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It felt like it was just a matter of time before the Blue Jays would move on Russell Martin this winter, and that’s exactly what happened on Friday afternoon, as it was announced that he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The news was first reported by TSN’s Arash Madani on Twitter.
The Dodgers were known to be in the marking for a catcher as their own Yasmani Grandal was a free agent this winter, and signed with the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this week on a one year, 18.25 million dollar deal. As I mentioned in my piece from earlier today, that was the type of domino that needed to fall in order for Ross Atkins to find a trade suitor for Martin, and that’s exactly what happened.
At this early stage we don’t know what the return for Martin is just yet, but there’s a good chance that it was a relatively modest one. The Blue Jays would also have had to eat some, most, or even all of Martin’s remaining 20 million dollars he’s owed on this year’s contract, and he’s due to be a free agent after the season.
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He’ll join Austin Barnes in the catching ranks in L.A., a city and team he is familiar with. He started his career with the Dodgers back in 2006 and stayed there until the 2010 season, when he moved on to New York.
In Toronto, Martin played four of the five seasons he signed up for, and helped the team make back to back ALCS appearances in 2015 and 2016 as a crucial part of both the offence and defence. Last season was a difficult one though, as his numbers regressed a fair amount and he battled injuries. He also played all over the field, and even sat in the manager’s seat for the final game of the season.
I’ve been saying all offseason long that I hoped the Blue Jays would move on from Martin, mostly because I think he’s got enough left in the tank to be a MLB starter, and I don’t think he was going to get that opportunity in Toronto next season with the presence of Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire, and the Blue Jays plans to rebuild.
Once more of the trade details are known we’ll be sure to update you here at Jays Journal, but for now it looks like the Russell Martin era in Toronto is over. I hope I speak on behalf of all Blue Jays fans when I say thanks for your service, and we wish you well in L.A.
*Update*- According to the Blue Jays, they will receive minor league prospects, SS Ronny Brito, and RHP Andrew Sopko, while the Dodgers get Martin and cash considerations.