Just to show how time flies, it was four years ago today that the Jays traded Russel Martin to the Dodgers. They sent him (and $16.4 million) to LA for RHP Andrew Sopko and infielder Ronny Brito. Brito played last in Vancouver in 2021. Sopko played last in Buffalo and New Hampshire in 2019.
Russell played one season with the Dodgers, hitting .220/.337/.330 in 83 games.
To show nothing changes, we were told the Martin signing was to ‘change club culture’. We had too many happy Dominicans or something. But it worked:
Russell Martin's five-year $82 million deal should be considered a success in my view.— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 11, 2019
Martin was instrumental in helping #BlueJays reach the ALCS in 2015 and 2016. Generated 7.6 WAR over four years in Toronto, and also helped shift club's culture in 2015.
In his four years with the Jays, he hit .225/.336/.399 with 66 home runs. And we made the playoffs twice. So obviously, the culture changed (or maybe we had some better players).
Anyway, I loved having him on the team. I often talk about going to Montreal to see the preseason games there. The love for him from the Montreal fans was something else. And his dad playing the National Anthem on the sax was terrific.
The Brandon Belt signing is growing on me. Until his injury-filled 2022 season, he was a great lefty hitter. If he can get close to the .274/.378/.597 line from 2021 (and the 97 games) played), we’ll be very happy. And having someone good at first base to spell Vlad is also good.
Of course, most of our right-handed hitters did much better vs. right-handed pitching last year.
What it means for Cavan Biggio is an open question. He better not get off to the slow start he had last year.
I got an email telling me that there is a song by former Jays (and Yankees) catcher Rick Cerone up on YouTube. It was recorded in the early 1980s.