For the second straight offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers are bringing back a familiar face via trade.
The team announced on Friday that it acquired Russell Martin and cash considerations from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Ronny Brito and Andrew Sopko.
Martin started his career with the Dodgers in 2006 and was their starting catcher through the 2010 season. He was a two-time All-Star, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner in Los Angeles. In total, Martin is a four-time All-Star.
The Canadian-born catcher is due $20M this season but Ken Rosenthal reports that the Blue Jays are covering a ‘significant’ amount of that.
Here’s more on the trade via Dodgers PR:
Martin, 35, began his big league career as a Dodger in 2006 after being selected by Los Angeles in the 17th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. With the Dodgers, Martin was an All-Star in 2007 and 2008 and helped lead the club to three Postseason appearances in his five seasons. The upcoming season will be Martin’s 14th in the Major Leagues and he owns a career slashline of .249/.349/.399 with 185 homers and 751 RBI with the Dodgers (2006-10), Yankees (2011-12), Pirates (2013-14) and Blue Jays (2015-18).
Overall, Martin’s teams have made the Postseason nine times in 13 years and he has caught 1,519 games (1,455 starts), which ranks third among active players, trailing just Yadier Molina (1,836) and Brian McCann (1,529). He won both the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards in 2007, and in 2013 and 2014, he was named the Wilson Defensive Catcher of the Year.
In 2018, Martin made 89 starts behind the plate and at third base for the Blue Jays, slashing .194/.338/.325 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI.
Sopko, 24, was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft from Gonzaga and has a career 27-17 minor league record with a 3.61 ERA (158 ER/394.1 IP) and 363 strikeouts against 112 walks over four minor league seasons.
Brito, 19, signed with the Dodgers as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2015 and has a career minor league slashline of .259/.339/.418 with 15 homers and 104 RBIs over three minor league seasons.
The Dodgers currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster.
The move doesn’t necessarily take the Dodgers out of the running for JT Realmuto (or any other big-name catchers) but it also shows that they’re likely willing to start the year with the combo of Martin and Austin Barnes. Martin has struggled and dealt with injuries the past two seasons but like the Dodgers saw with Matt Kemp last season, a new location can rejuvenate a veteran.
Update: The cash considerations part of the deal has been reported.
And of course, Eric Stephen cleared everything up when it came to luxury tax purposes.