Russell Martin traded to Dodgers, back to where it began


Russell Martin is heading back to the West Coast.

The catcher, who turns 36 in February, was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday afternoon for a pair of prospects.

Martin, a four-time All-Star, was drafted by the Dodgers in the 17th round of the 2002 amateur draft and made his debut with the big club in 2006. He spent the first five seasons of his career with Los Angeles before spending two seasons apiece with the Yankees and Pirates before signing a monster five-year, $82 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Once one of baseball’s top backstops, age has caught up to Martin in recent seasons. He hit a career-low .194 in 2018, combining for just 181 games over the past two seasons. In his two seasons in the Bronx, 2011 and 2012, he caught 258 games, batting .224 with 39 homers and 118 RBIs.

Toronto will reportedly be paying a significant portion of his $20 million 2019 salary.

The Dodgers have been active this winter, having shipped outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds in a multi-player deal that opened up roster space and salary for a possible run at free agent slugger Bryce Harper. The team has also expressed interest in Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, one of the biggest names on the trade market this season — and adding Martin won’t decrease L.A.’s pursuit, according to reports.