Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
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Blue Jays trade Russell Martin to Dodgers

Blue Jays trade Russell Martin to Dodgers

He spent the first five seasons of his career with Los Angeles before spending two seasons apiece with the Yankees and Pirates before signing a monster five-year, $82 million contract with the Blue Jays. The Dodgers acquired Martin from the Blue Jays on Friday afternoon in exchange for righthander Andrew Sopko and infielder Ronny Brito.

Toronto will reportedly be paying a significant portion of his $20 million 2019 salary.

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. 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 catcher, who turns 36 on February 15, hit.194/.338/.325 with 10 homers in 90 games last season for the Blue Jays and is considered an above-average framer behind the plate.

Brito, 19, signed with the Dodgers as an worldwide 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. A veteran presence - Martin caught 667 games for the Dodgers from 2006 to 2010. But, if he's able to correct either of those issues in a return to Chavez Ravine, he'll give the Dodgers a high-quality defender with excellent on-base skills.

The trade of Martin to Los Angeles will open the door for Jays catching prospect Danny Jansen to audition as a long-term piece behind the dish.

Martin enters his age-36 season, coming off a 2018 in which he hit.194 with a.338 on-base average; good for a.663 OPS for Toronto.

Obviously, Martin's best years are behind him.

Brito, 19, split last season between the Dominican Summer League Dodgers and the rookie-level Ogden Raptors, hitting.295 over 61 games. He's quite a ways from big league relevance, but he did enjoy solid production against older competition in the Pioneer League this past season.

A seventh-round pick out of Gonzaga in 2015, Sopko ranked 26th on the Dodgers' Top 30 Prospects as recently as two years ago. He opened the 2018 season at Class-A Advanced and ascended to Double-A midway through the season. He authored a 3.90 ERA in 117 2/3 innings while striking out 9.3 hitters per nine frames. As a fly-ball righty with a low-90s heater who relies on control, his realistic ceiling is more along the lines of a back-end starter, but his success in Double-A means he shouldn't be too far from getting a look at the big league level.

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