Dodgers Acquire Russell Martin in Trade with the Blue Jays
The Dodgers appear to have found their catcher to pair with Austin Barnes as the Dodgers traded for Russell Martin on Friday.
Just a season ago the Dodgers brought Matt Kemp back for one last time in Dodger blue and now it appears another former Dodger fan favorite is heading back to Los Angeles. The Dodgers have acquired Russell Martin in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Dodgers sent Andrew Sopko and Ronny Brito back in return as the Jays are covering a significant portion of the 20 million dollars that Martin is owed in 2019.
The former fan favorite last appeared with the Dodgers in 2010 and is now thirty-five years old. Martin is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2019 season. Last season, Russell hit .194 with ten home runs in 90 games. Martin has hit just .218 over the last three seasons but he is still good for double-digit home runs when given enough playing time.
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In addition to having decent power for a catcher, Russell Martin gets on base at a good clip and is a very good defensive catcher still. He had a DRS of 7 in 2018 and allowed just three passed balls. In the last two seasons combined, Martin has allowed just six passed balls in over 1200 innings behind the plate. As Andrew Friedman loves, Martin is also a good pitch framer which is something the Dodgers lost when Yasmani Grandal left for Milwaukee.
The Dodgers were interested in finding a one-year stopgap catcher to bridge the gap to Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith so Martin is exactly what the Dodgers were looking for in that regard. If the Dodgers are able to acquire J.T. Realmuto they could always release Martin but the addition means that they don’t have to give in to Miami’s high asking price which has included Cody Bellinger.
The Dodgers’ portion of paying Martin is about four million so it is a very cheap price to pay for a proven defensive catcher. Austin Barnes should be the primary catcher for the Dodgers in 2019 but if he struggles as he did last year then Russell Martin is the safety net for the Dodgers. Now the Dodgers can focus their attention on significant upgrades like Corey Kluber or Realmuto.