Well the Blue Jays did it. Today they went ahead and traded Russell Martin and cash to the Dodgers for two prospects. It’s yet to be reported how much of the $20-million still owed Martin that Toronto will be on the hook for, but Ben Nicholson-Smith expects it to be in the range of $16-18 million.
After the Blue Jays went ahead and released Troy Tulowitzki and the hefty $38-million remaining on his deal, it was pretty clear that money was no longer going to get in the way of Toronto’s youth movement. Thankfully, unlike what happened with Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays were able to acquire several prospects from the Dodgers, 19-year old shortstop Ronny Brito and 24-year old starting pitcher Andrew Sopko.
Martin meanwhile will be returning to where it all began for him and where he established himself as the greatest catcher to ever come from Canada. To watch Martin with the Dodgers between 2006-2008 was to see one of the elite catchers in the game. One can only imagine how much more productive he’d have been at the plate during those early years had he not been playing such a physically demanding position as catcher.
Although Martin isn’t anything close to the player he was during those first three years in Los Angeles, perhaps a return to his old stomping ground will help bring out the best in what the soon to be 36-year old catcher still has to offer. It certainly worked for Matt Kemp who had a resurgence of sorts last season in his return to the Dodgers.
There wasn’t anything left for Martin to prove with the Blue Jays. And now with Danny Jansen, Luke Maile, and Reese McGuire, it was obvious that Toronto and Martin had to move on from one another. Had he remained with the Blue Jays, they would have been forced to either carry three catchers or keep their best defensive catcher (Maile) down in Triple-A. Which Martin would agree wouldn’t be fair to someone like Maile looking to make a name for himself in the big leagues.