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Take Atlanta off your potential Russell Martin suitors list

As we’ve talked about earlier this off-season, the Blue Jays would be willing to eat money in order to move Russell Martin. The veteran catcher is in the final year of that five-year contract he signed back prior to the 2015 season.

One of the teams we’d kind of expected to be in on acquiring Martin was the Atlanta Braves. They’re a young team with a young pitching staff who could probably use another veteran behind the plate along with Tyler Flowers. There’s also the obvious Alex Anthopolous connection with Atlanta and they have a boat load of money to work with.

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You can cross Atlanta off that list now as they’ve signed free agent catcher Brian McCann. McCann, of course, played most of his career with the Braves before signing a free agent deal with the Yankees back before the 2014 season. He spent three years with the Yanks before getting dealt in a salary dump deal to Houston, where he’d spend two seasons and earn a World Series ring.

Atlanta was where I figured Martin would end up, but that’s obviously not happening now. The Astros still need a catcher, so that could be a fit, as do the Mets, who were the original topic of conversation back when Joel Sherman reported the Jays would move Martin with salary retained.

The logic, it seems, behind moving Martin is to open up playing time for Danny Jansen. Martin became a super-utility player last year when Jansen and Reese McGuire joining the roster and Luke Maile breaking out as a very capable backup.

I would imagine Toronto wants to have Jansen and Maile on the big league team with McGuire pushing for a spot in Triple-A. Personally, I think Martin is a great leader to have around, so I’m not sure I’d be in a rush to deal him just to get whatever random C prospect back in a trade.

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  • PastorofMuppets

    I think Maile has one more option year left so it wouldn’t surprise me if he started down in Buffalo (with McGuire), ready to come up if Martin gets hurt/continues to decline or if Jansen struggles. They’ll probably want to give Danny a long look in the big league though so I think it’d be more about him playing with Martin for a bit longer until having him on the roster becomes (even more) untenable.

  • The Humungus

    Here’s how this (likely) plays out:

    Jansen is the starting catcher.

    Martin is the back-up/utility guy.

    Drury is the starting 3B until Vlad gets here, then he moves to utility as well.

    McGuire is the starter in Buffalo.

    Maile is the back-up in Buffalo, but the first guy called up if Jansen or Martin get hurt.

    And if Martin has any sort of offensive value, they eat some money and trade him to a contender looking for veteran presents sometime between July 2 and August 31. Unless they get floored with an offer for him (unlikely), I think he stays for the Canada Day marketing.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    Nobody is going to trade for a second-string catcher making $20M. Toronto is not going to pay $19-20M for someone else’s second-string catcher. Martin will mean one of the players who should be ahead of him languishes in Buffalo for a year. That’s his impact this year.

    • Player to Be Named Later

      A trade could happen. From the Jays perspective, the money is spent. So they could eat $16/17 million if it means getting a decent (and I mean decent, not great) prospect back. They open up a roster spot, get another body for the system, and free up a few million to spend somewhere else (like a veteran relief arm that they can flip at the deadline.) It’s not out of the question.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    I see almost everyone’s post has a ‘Trash’. Suggests to me our friend who was never visiting again, the one who didn’t know how many Paul Beestons there are, has indeed visited.

  • Terry Mesmer

    Martin, most likely, is seen as a backup by good teams. They might want him, but perhaps not until late July, when they are more certain they are in the playoffs. Think of all the backup catchers who never see time during the playoffs. Why pinch run for your star catcher when your backup is so much worse? But a lot of managers would trust Martin — with all his playoff experience — to catch a few late innings and have professional at bats.
    Wouldn’t the Yankees like to get Gary “Stone Hands” Sanchez out from behind the plate, late in a close game?

  • orcdoubleax

    The fact is even if the Jays eat 19.5 million (assuming there is some rule I don’t know about preventing them from eating all 20 mil 🙂 )they will still be better off. Sunk cost is sunk cost. It is the one of the first thing they teach you when you do a business degree. You want them to get as good a deal as possible, but it would have to be a pretty horrible deal to be better than no deal.