Dodgers reuniting with catcher Martin – MLB.com

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Dodgers reuniting with catcher Martin – MLB.com

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers found their stop-gap catcher and it’s a very familiar name. Russell Martin is returning.

The Dodgers acquired Martin and cash from the Blue Jays on Friday for right-handed pitcher Andrew Sopko and Minor League infielder Ronny Brito. Martin is a four-time All-Star, a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award winner entering his 14th Major League season, the first five with the Dodgers, who converted him from third base.

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers found their stop-gap catcher and it’s a very familiar name. Russell Martin is returning.

The Dodgers acquired Martin and cash from the Blue Jays on Friday for right-handed pitcher Andrew Sopko and Minor League infielder Ronny Brito. Martin is a four-time All-Star, a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award winner entering his 14th Major League season, the first five with the Dodgers, who converted him from third base.

A Canadian native, Martin was non-tendered in 2010 coming off a hip injury and joined the Yankees, then the Pirates and most recently the Blue Jays. In 2018 he hit .194 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs in 90 games. Martin was an All-Star as recently as 2015. He also notably managed the Blue Jays’ final game of the season after the departure of longtime skipper John Gibbons.

Video: [email protected]: Martin makes managerial debut vs. the Rays

With the free agency departure of Yasmani Grandal, Martin apparently will be the veteran to pair with Austin Barnes while the Dodgers wait for catching prospects Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz to be Major League ready. Grandal agreed to a one-year, $18.25 million contract with Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Martin also has played third base, shortstop, second base and the outfield in recent years.

Martin, 36 next month, is due to receive a $20 million salary in 2019, the last year of a five-year, $82 million deal, but the Blue Jays are expected to pay the majority of that salary.

Tweet from @Dodgers: Welcome back, @russellmartin55! pic.twitter.com/Qj7wOnLqZ3

The Dodgers had targeted Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto as Grandal’s replacement, but the Marlins demanded center fielder Cody Bellinger in return, but Los Angeles had no interest in dealing him. While the Dodgers also had been rumored as suitors for game-changers like outfielder Bryce Harper and starting pitcher Corey Kluber, acquiring a catcher has been the top priority.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: There is not a chance the 2019 version of Russell Martin would preclude the #Dodgers from continuing to pursue J.T. Realmuto

Sopko, 24, was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2015 Draft from Gonzaga and has a career 27-17 Minor League record with a 3.61 ERA and 363 strikeouts against 112 walks over four seasons.

Brito, 19, signed with Los Angeles as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2015, and has a career Minor League slash line of .259/.339/.418 with 15 homers and 104 RBIs over three seasons.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

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