Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays trade Russell Martin to Dodgers

You kind of knew this was coming, but that doesn’t mean that it hurts any less.

The Blue Jays have sent C Russell Martin to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor leaguers 2B/SS Ronny Brito and SP Andrew Sopko. The team will also be eating a “significant portion” of the remaining $20M owed to Martin, according to Jeff Passan.

The Blue Jays signed Martin after the 2014 season to upgrade from Dioner Navarro. Martin was coming off a year in which he slashed .290/.402/.430 with a 140 wRC+. It was a career year that saw him put up 5.4 fWAR in just 111 games, good for second among all catchers in the MLB. But even though he put up those numbers at the plate, Martin was advertised as a defense-first catcher that had all the intangibles that people love to talk about.

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Even though the last year and change of his time in the blue and white were frustrating, Martin leaves as one of the most important free agent signings in franchise history, given how vital he was on those Blue Jays teams that went to the ALCS in back to back seasons.

As for the return, I don’t think you could expect much given his age, salary, and the fact that Yasmani Grandal had to settle for a 1/$18.25M deal yesterday. The 19-year-old Brito was playing rookie ball last season and hit .295/.359/.496 over 61 games. He was the 23rd ranked prospect in the Dodgers system by MLB Pipeline. Sopko, on the other hand, pitched 117 innings between High-A and Double-A with a 3.52 ERA.

Given where things ended up last season, with Martin on the bench and Danny Jansen getting starts, this is for the best. It’s time to see what Jansen and Luke Maile can do with more reps behind the plate. Reese McGuire is also knocking on the door behind them, so there’s more than enough depth to handle this loss.

Love it or hate it, these are not your 2015 Blue Jays. These aren’t even your early 2017 Blue Jays. Mark Shapiro and company have really overhauled their roster to the point where they’re almost unrecognizable. Only five players (Smoak, Pillar, Stroman, Sanchez, Travis) from that good, but aging 2015 team remain, and it hasn’t even been four full years. Thankfully, we have a certain special talent on the way to hopefully, usher in a new era of Blue Jays baseball and make some new memories.

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  • MartinH8er

    Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, HEY HEY, GOODBYE!

    The only good thing that POS did was make the error that set up the bat flip.

    What a fraud that man has perpetrated on MLB.

  • First time caller, long time listener

    I liked Russell Martin but to the best of my recollection all he did in the playoffs was try to swing out of his shoes every at bat. Still would have liked to keep him around as a mentor to the kids tho instead of paying another player $20mil to play elsewhere

    • Seguaro

      Interesting discussion on Prime Time last night. While going out of his way to avoid criticizing Martin, Arash Madani said that Russell spent most of September at the end of the bench or in the clubhouse by himself. He went on to say that neither he nor any of the other beat writers ever saw Martin anywhere near Jansen let alone showing any interest in mentoring him.

      • First time caller, long time listener

        I’ve actually heard from friends that have been calling to him with their kids in the warmups that he is a bit of a douche. Just looked and ignored them. This was years ago when he first came to the Jays. He was just standing there close to where they were

      • Nice Guy Eddie

        Not a surprise there. Pro athletes are competitive. Martin saw Jansen as a threat to take his job, not as a ‘student’ to be ‘mentored’. The ‘mentoring’ nonsense comes from those so detached they don’t have a clue what pro sports is about.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      Good thinking. We shoulda kept a kid in the minors who deserved to be in the majors so we could keep Martin who didn’t deserve to be in the majors so Martin could mentor him. Good thinking.

  • Syncros27

    What’s hard to take is the use of Jays money (and a lot of it) to support two of the most wealthy clubs in the sport. I get that at this time those roster spots are needed for others. The Jays have certainly wasted millions chasing a momentary chance at success. Hopefully this reset is competitive off the hop.

  • Oz Rob

    What a team we’ve become eh? Gone in a flash are Bautista, Encarnacion, Donaldson, Tulowitzki, Martin, Osuna….wow. Bit of a faceless team at the moment…..Vlad’s for the taking.