How much does Russell Martin have left in the tank?

Russell Martin

It’s no secret the Blue Jays are actively shopping Russell Martin.  Toronto already have at least two catchers in Danny Jansen and Luke Maile that are better than Martin.

Keeping Martin around simply to mentor Jansen is an overrated idea.  With Maile already in the mix, Toronto has a more than capable mentor who’s willing to share his knowledge with the up-and-coming Jansen.

With $20-million remaining on the final year of Martin’s contract, Toronto will most certainly have to eat a big chunk of that in order to find a taker.  Even if the Blue Jays are willing to cover most of what Martin’s owed, what team might be looking for a soon to be 36-year old catcher who’s well past his prime and no longer capable of starting on a regular basis?

A good comparable to Martin is Brian McCann who Atlanta signed just last week to a one year $2-million deal.  Considering the contract McCann received, it would mean the Blue Jays would likely have to cover close to $18-million of Martin’s remaining salary next season if they have any serious intentions of moving him.  That is unless they’re willing to take back a big contract in return.

So what ball clubs might be looking for a player like Martin?

Oakland

For a team with aspirations of making the post-season in 2019, the Athletics are seriously lacking at catcher.  At the moment, Josh Phegley is the only catcher listed on their 40-man roster.  Oakland also loves a bargain, so if they can get Martin for less than what it’ll cost to sign one of the better free agent catchers, they might be interested.

New York Mets

The Mets and their new GM, Brodie Van Wagenen, are looking to make plenty of noise this winter.  They’re in the market for a catcher, but at the moment have their eyes set on Miami’s J.T. Realmuto or one of the higher-end free agent options.  The Mets also have a long history of bringing in big name players who are well past their prime.  If the asking price for Realmuto is too steep for them, Martin might factor into their secondary plans.

Cleveland

Having traded both Yan Gomes and top catching prospect Francisco Mejia, Cleveland’s catching situation is looking awfully sparse compared to what it was at this time last year.  With Roberto Perez (who hit all of .168 in 2018) and a less than ideal back-up in Eric Haase, Cleveland is in serious need of some affordable help behind the plate.

The Blue Jays will likely have to be patient when it comes to a possible trade involving Martin.  There are plenty of better catchers available via free agency.  Until free agents such as Yasmani Grandal, Wilson Ramos, and Martin Maldonado have all signed, don’t expect a team that’s in the market for a catcher to make a move for Martin.

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