Russell Martin Already Preparing for 2020 Season

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While a return for catcher Russell Martin to the Dodgers in 2020 is still up in the air, his intentions for next season are certainly clear, as he already began his very strict workout routine preparing for the upcoming campaign.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the news this morning.

Even amid some speculation during last season’s summer months that 2019 would be his final MLB endeavor, the 36-year-old native of Canada was still able to remain relatively healthy throughout the year. Aside from a few weeks on the injured list with backs spasms and several days on the bereavement list at the end of August, Martin was an integral part of the Los Angeles roster the entire season.

Martin is well-known for implementing MMA routines into his offseason workout regimens. Across the league, he is very much respected for his level of fitness and intensity in the gym.

“Since I work out in a circuit-training environment, the power endurance was what really attracted me to MMA workouts. There are no limits to how hard you can go. That’s how they push themselves,” Martin explained in an interview with Men’s Journal several years back. “It has helped me become more efficient, getting the most out of a workout in the shortest period of time. For me, the key is mastering mobility and stability. Everything in baseball—my catching, my swing—I want to make sure I have it all under control.”

During his end-of-season press conference, front office boss Andrew Friedman had nothing but good things to say about Martin.

“Russ came in and fit a role extremely well for us. He was a great veteran presence, did a lot for Barnesy, did a lot for Will Smith,” Friedman said.

Not only did Martin log 486.0 innings behind the plate, but he also made seven appearances at third base, where he recorded seven assists and one putout with no errors on eight total chances. What’s more, he was extremely effective as a relief pitcher, registering four full innings over four appearances. In those outings, he surrendered no earned runs on just two hits and no walks while striking out two.

Even teammate Walker Buehler, the emerging ace of the Dodgers’ starting rotation, offered praise for Martin—jokingly or not.

“He’s pretty good,” Buehler told reporters late last August. “He’s got some spin rate. You guys should check his numbers.”

In spite of all that, there’s no question his age is catching up with him, especially in terms of offensive production. With just six homers last year, his 2019 campaign was the first season in nine years when he didn’t log double digits in homers. In all, Martin slashed .220/.337/.330 over 209 AB.

Nevertheless, those efforts were still better than the .194 average he posted for the Blue Jays in 289 AB during the 2018 season.

Regardless, as inferred by Friedman, the former 2002 draft pick of the Dodgers was able to contribute to the team that may have conceivably outweighed his offerings with the bat. Martin was viewed by many in the Los Angeles clubhouse as a strong leader and an exemplary role model, specifically for the younger players.

The problem with Martin’s return, however, could lie in the number he has in mind for a salary. He made an even $20 million last season, which was the final year of a five-year, $82 million dollar deal he inked with the Blue Jays. After the dust settled on the trade with the Dodgers, Los Angeles ended up paying just $3.6 million of what he was owed last year.

In reality, Martin will be extremely fortunate to find a 2020 deal in the $5 million range.

We have already discussed the circumstances surrounding a potential return to Los Angeles for the veteran, but Friedman didn’t provide any hints on which way he was leaning.

“At this point, with our catching depth, it’s a more difficult fit, but that doesn’t mean things won’t play out in a different way,” Friedman explained.

Either way, there’s a good chance that Martin will latch on somewhere for at least one more season, so long as the prospective salary is practical for him.


49 thoughts on “Russell Martin Already Preparing for 2020 Season

  1. Wow, 20 million last year. With the estimate of Barnes’ 2020 salary at around 1.3 million there’s an awful lot of distance between those two numbers. Of course Martin realizes he’ll have to take a huge pay cut no matter where he signs, but depending upon how AF wants to use the 40-45 mil at his disposal this winter, every payroll dollar could be important. Would Martin settle for 2 mil? I just don’t see him getting 5 mil from anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I prefer Martin to Barnes. He actually came through in the clutch a few times including the late inning win against the Nats. Here is another former Dodger I would think about. Josh Linblom. Just coming off of 2 real good years in the KBO. HR rate under 1 every 9 innings. FB is not great, but the spin rate on his slider is exceptional. Would be a very good bullpen piece


      1. The pitching staff was #1 in MLB with those 3 guys. I’m sure Martin is a clubhouse leader and he’d likely come cheap. I think keeping him in the organization is a good idea. He and Smith can split the duty. I see no need for Barnes. I’d like to see a left handed hitting catcher to pair with Smith. We have one.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Barnes is a redundant piece. He is Martin with less experience and pop. Ruiz is in the wings and will see some action in 2020 if he is not traded. I am wondering what if anything AF actually does. He always is late to the party it seems. He never jumps early. There is a lot of buzz though about Ryu giving the Dodgers a home town discount.


      3. Initially I thought for sure they’d tender Barnes a contract, but the more I think about it, the more beneficial a signing of martin could be. Like you said, Friedman normally waits to the very end to make such decisions, so there’s some chance that somebody else snags JMart before Andrew makes up his mind. If that’s the case, then he’s probably stuck with Barnesy.


      1. It’s awfully hard to do your job as a GM without getting a feel from the other clubs what positions they might look to shore up in free agency and consequently how that might affect their players and who might be available.
        Baseball has gone the way of politics. Nobody talks to the other side anymore. They just wave their fingers in each others faces and accuse them of treason. You’re all invited to the hanging of Alex Anthopolous at high noon at the Peachtree Mall in Atlanta (actually I don’t know if there is a Peachtree Mall, but everything in Atlanta is related somehow to peaches).


  2. What’s the problem? There’s a rule against talking on the phone with other management teams? No team shall act in concert? Concert: agreement of two or more individuals in a design or plan; combined action; accord or harmony:

    They didn’t agree on anything. Just phone calls asking questions. This is nothing. Collusion? As we have seen, collusion is damn difficult to prove, even when it’s in your face.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh. ok. I’m just reading it. Not as cool I guess.

        It’s Anthos job to talk. He gets canned if he doesn’t.


  3. Add another Dodger to the arbitration table. Baseball passed new guidelines for super 2’s and Julio and Josh Hader benefited from the ruling.


  4. I keep reading that the Dodgers need and will pursue a RH bat, but I’m not convinced we really need one. We led the NL in runs scored. The team that came in second is the team that won the Championship. What did they have that we didn’t? In the end it was pitching. If we had Will Smith to face the middle of the order that inning instead of reaching for Kershaw? Pitching.

    If we were to sign Castellanos that means Pederson is probably gone. Pederson can’t hit left handlers but so what? 61% of pitchers in the Majors are right handed. Pederson hit 36 home runs, scored 83, knocked in 74 and OPS’d .876 as a platoon player. Except for runs scored all of that is better than Castellanos, and Pederson had 100 fewer at bats. At this point, I think I may just keep that bat around.

    We need bullpen pitching that is still standing in October, and we need to replace what Ryu gave us. We may re-sign Ryu. We may eve on sign Hill, but I do not expect either will offer what they have in the past. Think pitching.

    Bullpen: Kelly actually got his one inning done – K, K, F9. We should NEVER have to ask him, or any other late game bullpen arm to go multiple innings. That includes Jansen. (Why didn’t he face the middle of the order?). I don’t know who might be available through trade, but we aren’t getting Smith. We might be interested in Harris, Diekman, Pomeranz, Hudson, Martin.

    Pitching, pitching and more pitching.


    1. If we had had Will Smith (the reliever), I’m still not certain we wouldn’t have gone to Kershaw. They seem to have had their minds made up to use him in that spot and nothing was going to change that.
      As I’ve mentioned previously, I’d love to see us sign Pomeranz. He was great as a reliever last year.
      I agree it was not logical to send Kelly out for a second inning, but what absolutely astounds me is how long into that second inning Roberts let him continue to pitch. Let’s see now, bases loaded, no outs, tie game and I’m saving my closer for the next inning. If that wasn’t a gut punch to Kenley…………………………….and that’s why I’m absolutely convinced AF will bring in someone who can move to the closer spot if necessary for next season.


      1. If we had traded for Smith and Roberts still went to Kershaw then Roberts gets fired.

        I’m going to twist with that bullpen sequence for a long time. Stupid. Just plain stupid.


    2. Maybe Anthopolous will be kind enough to share all that trade information he collected with his former boss Friedman. Might come in handy when the Dodgers are trying to build their 2020 bullpen. 🙂


      1. I don’t think that would be a good idea. I hear that Tony Clark has subpoenaed all of AA’s past and future phone, email and text records.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think these GMs are mostly pretty tight with each other, like what was presented in Moneyball. I have no problem with them talking to each other. The players association, a union of millionaires, seems to have a rather large stick up their collective asses regarding this. Whether the players like it or not, front offices need to talk with each other. I would say the business model has worked pretty good so far. Every year we look at what’s going on and say “no way that guy gets THAT much money” and every year not only does THAT guy get it, THOSE OTHER GUYS get it too. All you need is 1 good year in this business and you are set for life. I had several good years, none of them set me up for life.


      3. I don’t think the main problem is with the upper end guys not getting their money. I think the union is looking at the average mlb player with 4 or 5 years in the league, the guy who used to figure on getting another 4 or 5 years after that. Those players are now being replaced on rosters by younger, cheaper players. As far as I’m concerned, it should be a free marketplace and if team management wants to go in that direction they should be allowed to do it. But then I used to own a business, so I’m probably prejudiced.


      4. Here’s a thought: Why should a team’s management plunge past the Luxury tax Threshold and suffer huge penalties when they have led the MLB in attendance for the last three seasons with popularity at a high level?


      5. Because they can afford to do so?

        Why not just do what the other sports have done and have a hard cap. No other leagues are suffering for it.


  5. Giants down to 3 candidates for their managers job, and 2 for the GM. And the Dodgers have no GM at this point and there is virtually no buzz that they are going to have one. Lots of reports that the Braves will target Bumgarner. Most think he will get a deal around 4 years and 77 million plus. Passan seems to think that LA will indeed target Rendon, or at least kick the tires. If a deal around 5 years can be struck, they might go for it.


    1. Rendon – 5/200 might get us close or maybe something like 6/228 which would be 38 mil/year and would surpass Trout for the highest AAV. If that happens we’ll probably need to jettison some salary, if only because we’ll probably be bringing in a couple of relievers.
      Pollock is at 15 mil but not easy to trade and Joc estimated at around 8.5. One of those guys (probably Joc) could go.
      Kike and CT3 are somewhat redundant and will both earn about 5 mil next year.
      Stripling at about 2.3 mil and Yimi at about 1.1 mil are also possible trade candidates. All a matter of what other moves AF would consider in terms of additions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rendon passing Trout in anything sounds antithemic. Yes, I made that word up. It means laughably absurd.

        I’m not seeing Rendon worth that much in LA. He just had his best offensive year ever. In a contract year. In 7 seasons, through his peak years, he’s managed only 3.1 dWAR. He’s very good. He’s also 30. Did I mention he just finished a contract year. And does it alert anyone that, by nearly every metric available, Major League players begin their inevitable decline at what age? 30. I’d be very careful with this one.

        For a million I keep Yimi. Trade Stripling. Trade one of the utility twins. We have enough utility depth without one. Heck, looks like Tyler White might be that guy for under a million. Ok, maybe not, but he sure looks better.


      2. Joel Sherman seems to think that the Dodgers will make a deal with the Mets for Diaz, and he has Kike and Chicken Strip headed to the Mets in that deal. Not sure it would happen, but it makes some sense since the Dodgers seem to think they can fix whatever went wrong with Diaz last year, and Kike and Strip are redundant pieces. Kike would play more in NY, and Strip would step into their # 5 slot as a starter.


  6. Attention Please: Let me introduce myself, I am The Great Predicto, here with my first off-season prediction.
    Although Ryu’s agent is Boras and Boras likes to delay signings as long as possible, Ryu will want to return to the Dodgers. He will insist that Boras engage Friedman early and we will know whether we’re bringing him back before the Winter Meetings start (I think that’s December 8th). So sayeth the Great Predicto.


  7. Not to be confused with the Great Flydini

    Scoopadamus will challenge you Predicto. Nobody does nothin of significance before the winter meetings. They all want us to torque our swivels until those meetings. I do believe there is a strong chance both Ryu and Hill will re-sign with the Dodgers. Some prediction have Hill throwing 150 innings (Depth Charts) and 141 (fangraphs). I take the under on both of those but 16 starts and 100 innings is worth a contract. Take the Kawhi Load Management approach with him. If Ryu wants to remain here Friedman will make it happen, but it won’t happen as quickly as Jefe Predicto says it will.


    1. I think if Hill comes back it’s more likely to be a Stripling-type role which will also make a Stripling trade that much more likely. The fact that nobody does anything of significance before the Winter Meetings is what makes the Great Predicto’s prediction all the more exceptional.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You might want to hope you are wrong. If this bold prediction comes to pass, a lot will be expected of you going forward. The pressure to keep producing will be enormous. I suggest you take a less stressful approach. I personally like the “just say stupid sh*t all the time and no one will take you seriously” avenue. Works for me. I’ll never disappoint because there are no expectations. Just a thought.


      1. Not sure I can be there for you Jefe. This is what I know about falling objects. The downward force of gravity (Fg) equals the restraining force of drag (Fd) plus the buoyancy., which on a falling Jefe is net zero. For download motion of the Jefe mass, the inertia forces of the solid are hardly negligible (assumption of the massless fluid) in comparison to other forces. In Jefe’s case, such flows are called increasing upward creep flows and the resulting condition for said creep flows is a forced equation of motion for creeping flow (simplified Navier–Stokes equation) In simple terms, the net force of a falling Jefe would leave a mark.

        I could administer CPR. Maybe.


      2. Ah, don’t you just love a good baseball conversation?
        Actually what you described there sounds like a scientific explanation of Hill’s curveball.


      3. It’s from the definition of terminal velocity, which is something that anything Hill throws has no chance of approaching.

        Did you read some of those ‘20 projections from fangraphs? Hill 141 innings? How would anybody arrive at that? They also have Ryu at 171 innings and an era over 4. 2.9 WAR. How can they do that when they don’t know where he is going to pitch?


      4. We can do that Jefe.

        Bellinger. Just short of last year.

        Hill. Way short of fangraphs projections.

        Seager. Way better than last year.

        Verdugo. Same as Seager.

        Smith. Not quite the same.

        Pollock. Slightly the same, only a skosh more of it.

        Muncy, Turner, and the rest of the band….. more of the same.

        Pitching staff. Doesn’t lead the league again but is in the top 5.

        Bullpen. Will have pitchers in it.

        Team wins …. short of last year.

        We win the West.

        There. Who needs numbers. Obviously stats and facts are too complicated for the American people so just start talking. Some will listen. Some ask for numbers then they won’t believe them. Some can’t read so just tell them what they want to to hear then lead them the direction you want them to go.

        I’ve got GM all over me.

        Wait, that’s not GM, it’s g u m and it’s on the bottom of my shoe.

        Never mind.

        Off for bagels with my father-in-law. Good guy. 97 next month. Former Air Force pilot. Dodger fan.


  8. Your out of luck Jefe, all of my cowboy boots are pointed. But I will make sure I am not wearing my Tony Lama red lizard wing tips. Those suckers would leave a mark. The Great Predicto, and Scoopadamus. This site has sunk to new lows. Dennis, you had better lasso these hombres before they predict something that actually might happen. The credibility of the site will nosedive incredibly if they get one right.


    1. He did. Not so much now. He was a flight instructor for B-29s during WWII. Got to meet and teach some interesting pilots. Also flew C130s in ‘nam when I was there. He doesn’t remember much now though. I keep asking him questions just to lubricate the synapses, but it’s hard for him.


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