Heading into the offseason it was considered unlikely that Yasmani Grandal would remain with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019 and potentially beyond. That became a stronger sentiment when he declined the one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer from the club.
The Dodgers’ search for a starting catcher linked them to the likes of Francisco Cervelli, Yan Gomes and J.T. Realmuto. A potential trade for Cervelli reportedly didn’t gain much traction, while the Cleveland Indians sent Gomes to the Washington Nationals.
The Dodgers remained among the teams most often linked to Realmuto, but the Miami Marlins continue to have a high asking price for their All-Star backstop. So Los Angeles pivoted and acquired Russell Martin from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for two Minor League prospects.
Martin returns to the organization that selected him in the 17th round of the 2002 Draft. He follows in the footsteps of Matt Kemp as he reunited with the Dodgers via trade last winter.
And like Kemp, Martin is facing questions ahead. It’s skepticism he’s using as motivation, per AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:
“Proving people wrong is definitely motivation. If they are just looking at the numbers, they might not even be happy with this move. But baseball to me is beyond just that. Obviously, I want to have a better statistical season this up coming year. There’s no question about it, and I am doing everything possible in my control as far as being in the cage, taking swings, getting my body ready, getting in shape. All those things play a part in it. When it comes to baseball, winning, and getting your best out of your pitching staff and getting the best out of your teammates and yourself, there’s some intangibles there you can’t measure. Those things don’t speak statistically, and hopefully I can bring some of those intangibles to the team and help in a positive way.”
Appearing in just 90 games, Martin is coming off a season in which he posted career-lows in batting average (.194), slugging percentage (.325) and on-base plus slugging (.663). However, hit at least 10 home runs for an eighth consecutive year.
Martin previously remarked the trade to the Dodgers has rejuvenated him and the veteran expressed a willingness to fill any role and play multiple positions in effort to help the team capture their first World Series since 1988.