The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired catcher Russell Martin from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Minor Leaguers Ronny Brito and Andrew Sopko. The Blue Jays also sent cash considerations to the Dodgers as a part of the trade.
Much like the trade that brought Matt Kemp to Los Angeles a year ago, this is a reunion for Martin as the 35-year-old was drafted by the Dodgers in 2002 and spent his first five Major League seasons with team.
Martin is coming off perhaps the worst offensive season of his career, hitting .194/.338/.325 with 10 home runs and 25 RBI in 90 games. He is a four-time All-Star though, so the Dodgers are hoping he still has some left in the tank.
Brito is a 19-year-old infielder that the Dodgers signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. He appeared in 53 games with the team’s rookie-level affiliate in Ogden in 2018 and hit .288/.353/.489 with 11 home runs and 53 RBI.
The Dodgers drafted Sopko in the seventh round in 2015 out of Gonzaga. The right-handed pitcher split time between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa in 2018, going a combined 6-5 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 26 games (22 starts). He struck out 121 while walking 27 in 117.2 total innings between the two levels.
With Yasmani Grandal recently reportedly signing with the Milwaukee Brewers, it was known that the Dodgers were in search of a catcher.
Whether or not Martin is the only one they acquire this offseason remains to be seen as they have been in discussions with the Miami Marlins for J.T. Realmuto.
If the season were to start today, the Dodgers would have a catching duo of Martin and Austin Barnes. The club’s 40-man roster now stands at 39 with the addition of Martin, who is in the final year of his contract.
Martin is owed $20 million in 2019, although his number that goes against the luxury tax is a bit lower at $16.4 million. Whatever money the Blue Jays are sending to the Dodgers will be subtracted from that number.