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Breaking: Dodgers To Trade For Toronto Catcher Russell Martin

Who says you can’t go home again? For the first time since 2010, it appears that Russell Martin will assume the role of starting catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Moreover, Arash Madani reports on twitter that the Toronto Blue Jays will be trading Martin to the Dodgers. Details are to follow.

Martin enters his age-36 season, coming off a 2018 in which he hit .194 with a .338 on-base average; good for a .663 OPS for Toronto. This included 10 home runs and 25 RBI over 90 games played.

Still, Martin’s name carries weight. A veteran presence – Martin caught 667 games for the Dodgers from 2006 to 2010. Equally important, these were some of his finest campaigns within the big leagues. During that time, Martin had a .361 on-base percentage.

Obviously, Martin’s best years are behind him. However, this gives the Dodgers a second option to pair with Austin Barnes. Overall, this is a solid tandem that should have many Dodgers fans excited. The leadership that Martin offers in the clubhouse should not be overlooked after being a member of postseason teams at every stop after Los Angeles.

We will have more details on what the Dodgers opt to send to Toronto for the four-time All Star backstop. Welcome back to Los Angeles, Russell.

Update:

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has an update on what the Dodgers sent to Toronto.

Press Release from the Dodgers

DODGERS ACQUIRE RUSSELL MARTIN

Four-Time All-Star heads back to Los Angeles, where he starred from 2006-10

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired catcher Russell Martin and cash considerations from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Andrew Sopko and minor league infielder Ronny Brito.

Martin, 35, began his big league career as a Dodger in 2006 after being selected by Los Angeles in the 17th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. With the Dodgers, Martin was an All-Star in 2007 and 2008 and helped lead the club to three Postseason appearances in his five seasons. The upcoming season will be Martin’s 14th in the Major Leagues and he owns a career slashline of .249/.349/.399 with 185 homers and 751 RBI with the Dodgers (2006-10), Yankees (2011-12), Pirates (2013-14) and Blue Jays (2015-18).

Overall, Martin’s teams have made the Postseason nine times in 13 years and he has caught 1,519 games (1,455 starts), which ranks third among active players, trailing just Yadier Molina (1,836) and Brian McCann (1,529). He won both the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards in 2007, and in 2013 and 2014, he was named the Wilson Defensive Catcher of the Year.   

In 2018, Martin made 89 starts behind the plate and at third base for the Blue Jays, slashing .194/.338/.325 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI.

Sopko, 24, was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft from Gonzaga and has a career 27-17 minor league record with a 3.61 ERA (158 ER/394.1 IP) and 363 strikeouts against 112 walks over four minor league seasons.

Brito, 19, signed with the Dodgers as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2015 and has a career minor league slashline of .259/.339/.418 with 15 homers and 104 RBIs over three minor league seasons.

The Dodgers currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. This honestly better be because barnes is part of a package going to the marlins for J.T. Literally a total head scratching, terrible move for the team if it expects to contend at all again. NL West might be the dodgers but everyone else in the NL who was a threat is even more of a threat now. They cannot be serious on saving this much damn money

    • This was a terrific deal. Dodgers are now in a much better position to negotiate with the Marlins for Realmuto. Or, go with Barnes and Martin with the likelihood that Smith will be ready to contribute in second half of the season. Dodgers are not done, and with the CBT salaries of Barnes and Martin only totaling $555K in 2019 the team is in excellent position to sign Harper and possibly trade for Kluber (Hill traded to another team like the Phillies); or, trade for Castellanos and Kluber. Dodgers are not done with its 2019 roster — be patient.

  2. Great mentor for our top prospect in Ruiz. I still believe the Dodgers will be bringing back Machado. The front office is likely looking at how the market responds to Machado’s salary demands and move in if the price is workable. Machado would likely be the future at third base when Turner ages and moves to first. Manny makes much more sense over Harper signing. You get an elite defensive player with a good solid right handed bat which the Dodgers need.

    • I don’t think so……………Machado wants to play shortstop………he is not going to wait around here for JT to retire AND he does not want to play third……….Seager is still here……….I am not sure how you figure that one working out unless Seager moves to third. Sounds like a clubhouse nightmare and I just don’t see the Dodgers trading Corey.

  3. Pathetic organization. we need people that would know what to do with all this money, resources, prospects, and current players on the team

  4. I guess this means no Realmuto for sure now…….guessing that means THEY (Marlins) continued to ask for Bellinger and Friedman told them to go pound sand……good for him!……..Friedman obviously planning on Ruiz or Smith playing a role pretty soon because Russell is on an expiring deal at seasons end…….irony here, he left the Dodgers while making 5 milllion/yr…….I think when he left he wanted about 11 million/yr and the Dodgers said no thanks…….now he makes 20 million/yr as a Dodger anyway! Now I have to go find my old Russell Martin jersey…won’t cost me anything more….that’s hoping I didn’t toss it out!

    • Dodgers in a better negotiating position for Realmuto. Who knows, Dodgers may have made this deal so that Barnes can be in the package of players going to Miami for Realmuto? Toronto keeping $16.4MM of Martin’s contract so zero impact to Dodgers CBT payroll number for 2019.

      • Hello SoCal, just dropping in briefly. I am OK and perhaps marlins were in fact considering asking for Barnes back. Recall he was traded to Dodgers before the 2015 season. If they can pull off getting Realmuto then WITHOUT getting Bellinger, then OK.

      • Hi Socal!…….I guess anything is possible, yea, but my instincts tell me this deal means Friedman is moving on. He still needs a second baseman and he probably wants to keep plugging in bullpen help. This Martin deal (since it is only one season) feels like a stop gap to get to the rookies on the farm, probably Ruiz…….but that is just my opine. Realmuto would have been the best guy for the job and it looked like a good fit for both clubs (flipping them Verdugo) but the Marlins expectations on the return are just to high. Now Friedman can use Verdugo to continue to pursue Kluber if he wants……but the Indians seem to be stonewalling that trade as well.

        • Good morning. I would be happy for Dodgers to go with Barnes and Martin with the expectation that Smith will be ready to contribute in second half of this season (as Friedman stated). Rather than a second baseman (Marwin Gonzalez has been my choice all Winter for that spot) Dodgers could leave Taylor there and acquire Castellanos to play LF. If Gonzalez is signed then Taylor becomes the regular LF’er. Before Spring Training I believe the Dodgers will acquire at least one of Realmuto, Harper, Castellanos, and/or Kluber — and possibly Gonzalez. CBT threshold will not stop Dodgers in 2019.

          • This is the type of talk I want to hear more of!!!! AF has only started to wheel and deal!!!! Right now, our catching position is weak : Barnes and Martin are not going to give us 20 home runs, and picture framing will only carry you so far. I would not be surprised if we try and land Realmuto for our Verdugo and a pitcher (Yadier Alvarez) and cash, Then, its on to Kluber for Barnes, Toles, and one pitcher (Ryu or Hill or Maeda). Harper is possible with an all-cash deal, NOT a long-term contract – 5 years tops. Go Blue!!!!!

  5. Thank goodness. Now the speculation about a 280 hitter with 20 HR (who didn’t last year) and average defensive skills can stop. With the Marlins asking for Bellinger AND a prospect you would have thought he was second coming of Piazza. Barnes (who is not as bad as 2018) and Martin can hold down the fort until Ruiz is ready. Save the chips for Kluber or, if Cleveland doesn’t budge, consider Greinke.

    • Mark agree with your evaluation of Realmuto but disagree on the need for a pitcher. We have Kershaw, Hill, Ryu, Buehler, Maeda, Urias, Stripling, Ferguson all with major league experience and under contract. With Santana, May, White, Gonsolin and others knocking on the door…

      Why would the Dodgers spend Farm assets and or money on an area of strength?

      The Martin trade tells me like you that they are done with catcher and plan to bring Smith up second half depending…

      I think they stand pat at second and try Beaty also as he was recently added to the 40 man roster..

  6. A 36 year old catcher who hit below the Mendoza line last year? That is the solution to our catching situation? Wow. So far the only positive thing Friedman has done was sign a relief pitcher. The only other thing we did was a salary dump for middling prospects for two starters (Puig and Wood) and an All Star last year who carried the team in the first half last year (Kemp). I am glad Kemp’s salary is gone, as he remains a defensive liability. Puig is a head case who has a cannon for an arm. Wood was a decent 5th starter. If this is all in anticipation of a bigger move then great. But if this is it, I am less than impressed.

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