It’s pretty obvious Russell Martin isn’t the player he once was. Not to say that he’s no longer a quality player, but at 34 years of age, he can’t play as regularly as he once did earlier in his career. What this means for the Blue Jays is they’re forced to rely more heavily on their back-up catcher, a position which Toronto has had much difficulty filling all season long.
The Blue Jays have so much money committed to the catchers position because of Martin’s hefty salary that perhaps they aren’t comfortable spending a little extra to get a more reliable back-up. Its this frugality that’s led to their ever growing list of back-up catchers in 2017, a list that includes Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Luke Maile, Mike Ohlman, and Miguel Montero. None of whom has been able to win over the job because of certain holes in their game.
With Saltlamacchia, his issues were that in every aspect of his game he was no longer big league material. Maile was by far the most promising of the bunch due to his impressive defensive skills, especially the fact that he could actually throw out runners attempting to steal. Montero, by far the best hitter of the potential candidates, unfortunately is also a huge liability on account of his inability to throw out base runners. Montero’s throwing woes also make things that much tougher on his pitchers who know in the back of their heads that as soon as someone gets on base, they’ll most certainly be running.
The Blue Jays need to search high and low for the best possible option for their number two catcher. If that happens to be one of Maile, Montero, or Ohlman, then they need to decide which of those players deficiencies they can live with the most. But considering how quickly the Blue Jays have been willing to move on from each of these catchers to the next, it seems they’d prefer a player who has a little more to offer. In which case they’ll just have to go out and spend a little more money this off-season.
During the last free agent period at the conclusion of the 2016 season, both Alex Avila and Kurt Suzuki were free agent catchers who would have been perfect for the Blue Jays in 2017…and they also came at a very reasonable price. Here’s hoping Toronto realizes how important it is for them to have a more then adequate back-up for the aging Martin moving forwards.