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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Russell Martin

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays-Workout Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Martin is 3 years into his 5 year contract with the Blue Jays. As a Jay he has hit .232/.335/.417 with 56 home runs in 357 games.

In 2017, Martin played a career low 91 games. Add in that he started a few games at third base, he started less than half the team’s games at catcher. He hit .221/.343/.388 with 13 home runs and a 1.5 bWAR.

Last year, Martin came to camp lighter, feeling that it would be easier on his knees if he was a little leaner.

This year he’s come to camp with more muscle, feeling that he wore down as the season went on. He’s thinking that if he is stronger he can handle the stress of catching better.

I hope he’s right, we really need him to play more than he did last year. The drop off from him to his backup is likely larger than the drop off between the starter and the backup at any other position in the lineup. If he can play 120ish games, that should make us at least a game better at catcher than last year. I’d trade his handful of games at third for more games behind the plate, but that’s hoping that Donaldson plays 150 games this year.

He’s had a nice start to his spring, .222/.364/.889 with 2 homers, in his first 9 at bats

PECOTA predicts him to hit .235/.337/.396 with 15 home runs, good for a 2.0 WAR, while playing 70% of our innings at catcher. 70% of 162 games is 113 games. I’d be happy with that. Maybe a few more homers would be ok.

Martin has 2 years and $40 million left on that 5 year, $82 contract Alex gave him. It’s funny that teams are front-loading contracts now, when back-loaded deals were popular a few years back. At the time, I think most GMs figured they wouldn’t be around for the end of the contract.

I’d like Danny Jansen to be his backup catcher next year, or perhaps they could share time half and half. I think he could could be a good mentor. But that’s a year away, a lot can happen in that time.

Martin is 8th on the list of games played by a catcher in team history. If he can play a couple of hundred more, over the last two years of his contract, he’d be in the top three, trailing just Ernie Whitt and Pat Borders. There is no chance that he’ll catch up to Ernie Whitt.

Poll

If the over/under on Martin’s games played at catcher was 110 I’d take the

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  • 50%
    Over
    (185 votes)
  • 50%
    Under
    (185 votes)
370 votes total Vote Now