Dodgers: Russell Martin a Stellar Backup in His Second Dodger Stint
The Dodgers brought Russell Martin back for relatively nothing in a trade with the Blue Jays. He has been a solid backup this season for the blue.
Last winter the Dodgers acquired Russell Martin for two prospects in return for the Blue Jays picking up most of the twenty million that Martin was owed in 2019. For just over three million dollars, the Dodgers brought Russell back for another stint in blue to back up Austin Barnes and help bridge the gap to the Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith era.
Over his last two games, Martin has helped out offensively going 4-7 and nearly went deep in Tuesday night’s game. For the season, Martin has had a quietly strong campaign posting a slash line of .278/.386/.403. Playing a premium defensive position that is a more than adequate line for a starting catcher and to be the back up that is even better production.
Martin has been a hitter who has done a great job of getting on base throughout his career and 2019 has been no different. After several seasons of mediocre to below average offensive production in Toronto, Russell Martin has been revitalized by a return to Los Angeles. This could be his last big league season at thirty-six years old and if it is, Martin is going out on a solid note.
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Defensively, Russell has been solid committing two errors and throwing out one base stealer while allowing six steals. Martin has always had a strong arm and cat-like reflexes behind the plate and he still has that ability in 2019. The one thing that has gotten him in trouble is errant throws but otherwise, it has been business as usual for Martin behind the dish.
Will Smith’s brief call-up with Austin Barnes on the injured list has had some calling for Russell Martin to be released to make room but that is not a smart idea at the moment. Not only was Barnes playing well before his injury, but Martin has been a solid veteran backup this season. Smith can start in Triple-A until Austin Barnes plays himself out of a starting role.
Even if Barnes plays himself out of a starting role the Dodgers could start Barnes in Triple-A while starting Will Smith in LA. Martin could then be the seldom-used backup catcher while providing veteran mentorship to Smith. The Dodgers were unable to get Matt Kemp a ring in his second stint in Los Angeles but maybe Russell Martin will have better luck this season.