This article was originally posted on www.dodgeryard.com as a forum on 2/28/20
Two weeks ago, MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman reported that multiple teams, including the New York Mets and Oakland Athletics, have displayed interest in free agent catcher Russell Martin, who still would like to play in MLB. Since then, crickets. Personally, I would love to see the Dodgers bring Martin back on a one-year deal. The 37-year-old catcher would provide a veteran presence that the Dodgers lost when David Freese retired at the end of last year. Russell Martin is beloved by many of the current Dodgers and was genuinely happy to be a Dodger last year when they acquired him from the Blue Jays. Martin started his career with the Dodgers, coming up around the same time as Matt Kemp and Andre Either.
Last year, Martin had .667 OPS and hit 6 home runs, excluding his home run in Game 3 of the NLDS. While his numbers are certainly below average offensively, Martin displayed a significant increase in power in the 2nd half of the season and hit very well in the one playoff game he started, an area in which has a plethora of experience. Martin’s on-base percentage, .337, is significantly better than his .220 batting average, displaying his plate discipline and ability to draw walks. Pitchers like throwing to Martin, and the value of his veteran presence behind the plate increases exponentially due to the myriad of young starters the Dodgers have. Defensively, he is great at blocking balls and catching outfield throws. He is an above average framer as well, although the value of that skill will certainly diminish with robot umpires looming on the horizon.
With similar if not better offensive statistics to current back-up catcher Austin Barnes and defense that is of the same quality or better, Martin could be a boost to the Dodgers in both clubhouse culture, providing a veteran presence, and offense (and especially power) as a back-up to Will Smith behind the plate. Do you think the Dodgers will bring Martin back? If not, where, if anywhere, do you think he signs?