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Dodgers News: Russell Martin Has No Plans to Retire, Will Play in 2020

The tenured Dodger catcher seems to be set on returning to the majors once more.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: Russell Martin #55 of the Los Angeles Dodgers prepares for a pitch during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Russell Martin was once a top prospect for the Dodgers in the mid-2000s and had a successful second tour with the team in 2019. He came up huge in the playoffs — despite it not being enough to get out of the first round — and provided a welcome veteran presence all year long for Los Angeles. He also was a fantastic mentor according to reports, for rookie catcher Will Smith.

Now, according to Jon Heyman, the 36-year-old catcher is planning to return to the league for a 15th season. As Heyman notes, there was some speculation that he could retire, citing his declining defensive ability and the second half tail off of his bat, but he still has value. He provides such as a steady backup catcher, fantastic clubhouse guy, and veteran mentor.

The odds that Martin returns to the Dodgers are very slim considering that the club appears set at the position for the near future. Will Smith will return in 2020 as the team’s starting catcher with Austin Barnes most likely set to back him up and super-prospect Keibert Ruiz looming.

On the season with the Dodgers, Martin posted a .220 batting average but a pretty solid .337 on-base percentage, partially due to a fantastic 12.0 percent walk rate. Through just 83 games, Martin was worth 1.2 WAR, an impressive number for a 36-year-old catcher getting a negligible amount of at-bats.

He also one was one of the few Dodgers that hit this past postseason going 2-4 with home run and a walk in his lone NLDS start — an outing that put him in some elite company.

More importantly, he provided 4 innings of scoreless relief, allowing only 2 hits while striking out 2 on the mound. Moreover, his versatility proved to be something of a historic asset for Los Angeles.

Best of luck to Russ in the next stage of his career.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

4 Comments

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  1. Russell “Le Muscle” Martin (55) Still has more in the tank for another season. I would’ve like to see him catching in game five of the postseason his presence will be sorely missed.

  2. Unlikely yes that he returns as a Dodger but wouldn’t be the worse thing if they gave him a 1 year minimal size contract, but may be tough to stay relevant with Ruiz looming as well as Barnes to stay as back up with Ruiz almost ready Smith better be prepared to fight to keep his job Keibert’s upside is better.

  3. If Barnes is traded then Martin would be a great backup until Ruiz is ready. And btw, when he is ready the FO will have to decide between him and Smith and trade one of them.

  4. Martin will go to the Giants, then come back to beat the Dodgers. It’s destined to happen.Payback for sitting Russ when we needed him most..Karma….

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