Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that catcher Russell Martin has signed a 5 year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. He also confirmed via Twitter that the deal will be worth $82 million over that time span.
In 111 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, Martin posted career highs in OBP (.402) and WAR (5.3). He hit .290, posted an .832 OPS, cranked 11 home runs and knocked in 67 RBIs, which is very respectable given his position.
His defensive skills are certainly a valuable asset as well. Martin is a former gold glove award winner (2007) and a three time All-Star who commands the respect of his pitching staffs and is respected for calling a good game.
The Pirates will receive an extra draft pick as compensation, while the Blue Jays surrender their first-rounder (17th overall).
Martin was originally believed to be headed to the Chicago Cubs. As the offseason continues to unfold, the Cubs are a team to watch. Perhaps one of the Mets catchers, either Travis d’Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki, becomes a player that Sandy Alderson might dangle in pursuit of a shortstop instead of ja young pitcher?
The Cubs infield also just became more crowded with the acquisition of Atlanta Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella, so the need to make room is becoming more imminent for Chicago.