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Although the Los Angeles Dodgers were linked to Yan Gomes and J.T. Realmuto throughout much of the offseason last year, the club wound up addressing their catching need by reuniting with Russell Martin in a surprising development.
Whereas Realmuto — and potentially Gomes — would’ve served as the starting catcher, Martin was acquired as a backup to Austin Barnes. The veteran was entering the final year of his contract, and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to pay $16.4 million in salary for 2019.
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Martin and the Dodgers were optimistic he would put a down 2018 season behind him, but that never quite manifested. Martin battled back trouble during Spring Training and also was placed on the 10-day injured list because of it in April.
Despite not having the resurgent season he hoped for, Martin intends to play in 2020 rather than retire, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
Russell Martin, 36, is working out already and plans to return for a 15th season next year. There had been some retirement speculation but he remains hungry. In his 14 seasons he’s played for 10 postseason teams but has yet to play for a World Series winner.
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A look at some of the news and notes surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays including updates on Chase Anderson, Russell Martin and more.
One More Year For Martin
Former Blue Jays backstop Russell Martin has indicated that he would like to play for one more season. The 36-year old is a free agent after spending last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he hit .220 with six homers in 83 games.
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Martin just concluded his 14th season in the majors and has been to the postseason ten times during that tenure. Even with all that postseason experience, the Canadian has yet to play for a World Series winner.
Anderson Updated His Social Media Following Trade
Newly acquired pitcher Chase Anderson wasted no time updating his Twitter profile following the trade that sent him to Toronto in exchange for Chad Spanberger two days ago. Anderson inserted “Go Jays” with a Canadian flag into his profile along with updating his location to Celina, TX/ Toronto, CA.
Anderson also took to Instagram to express his excitement for the next chapter of his career north of the border.
Newly acquired pitcher Chase Anderson is excited for the next chapter north of the border. #BlueJays @ChaseAnderson87
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1:50 AM – Nov 7, 2019
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Former Blue Jays pitcher David Cone is interviewing to be the next pitching coach of the New York Yankees. Cone had two stints with the Blue Jays during his 17-year MLB career including being acquired at the end of August for the playoff push in 1992.
Cone went 13-9 with a 3.14 earned run average in 25 career games with the Jays.
Vladdy Getting At It Early
There was much discussion last season about the physical condition of rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. moving forward. Vladdy seems to be taking his offseason training seriously as Hazel Mae tweeted this video of the Guerrero Jr.
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Someone’s getting his work in ahead of his sophomore campaign.#BlueJays #Vladdy #Plakata
5:30 AM – Nov 6, 2019
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NEXT: No Rookie of the Year nomination for Vladdy
It will be interesting to see what kind of shape Vladdy is in when spring training kicks off if he is already hitting the gym.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 6, 2019
In August, Martin suggested this past season could be his last, but he otherwise didn’t openly discuss or suggest a possible retirement.
Martin appeared in just 83 games, batting .220/.337/.330 with five, doubles six home runs and 20 RBI. Nevertheless, the organization valued his presence and impact on the clubhouse and pitching staff.
“Russ came in and fit a role extremely well for us. He was a great veteran presence, did a lot for Barnesy, did a lot for Will Smith,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.
He did provide highlights on the field, including a walk-off base hit against to complete a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals and spawned a spin off of the “don’t let the kids get hot” saying that Alex Verdugo created.
In the postseason, Martin had a 2-for-4 effort with one double, one home run and four RBI against the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
Martin was among the four Dodgers who officially became a free agent the morning after the World Series concluded; that includes David Freese, who of course announced his retirement prior to that.
“At this point, with our catching depth, it’s a more difficult fit, but that doesn’t mean things won’t play out in a different way,” Friedman answered when asked about possibly re-signing Martin.