Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Jays ship veteran catcher Russell Martin to Dodgers for minor leaguers

Jays ship veteran catcher Russell Martin to Dodgers for minor leaguers

They dealt two prospects to Toronto for Russell Martin, a former Dodger who can bridge the gap between the departed Yasmani Grandal and the team's two almost ready catching prospects.

The move came a month after the Blue Jays gave another high-priced veteran - shortstop Troy Tulowitzki - his release. 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.

Like the Tulowitzki decision, Toronto will be eating a lot of Martin's salary.

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

Russell Martin is heading back to the West Coast.

Martin signed with Toronto as a free agent in November 2014.

Brito, 19, is a Dominican-born infielder who spent last season in rookie ball. The upcoming season will be Martin's 14 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). The catcher, who turns 36 on February 15, hit.194/.338/.325 with 10 homers in 90 games last season for the Blue Jays and is considered an above-average framer behind the plate.

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). Martin's caught-stealing numbers have dwindled recently (22 percent in 2018), but he remains a premium pitch framer and was among the best in baseball at blocking pitches in the dirt, per Baseball Prospectus' metrics.

Toronto is in full teardown mode after two straight disappointing seasons.

"I want to thank the Blue Jays organization from top to bottom for the opportunity to play in my home country for the last four years".

The Blue Jays have been stockpiling prospects and will field a young team in 2019 with an eye to returning to contention two or three years down the road.

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