Russell Martin began his MLB career with the Los Angeles Dodgers what seems like a lifetime again, and the catcher will now be reuniting with his former team.
According to baseball reporter Arash Madani, the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to trade Martin to the Dodgers.
BREAKING: Per MLB sources, the Blue Jays are trading Russell Martin to the LA Dodgers.
More to come…
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) January 11, 2019
Martin will turn 36 in February, and he is coming off a 2018 season to forget in which he batted just .194 in 94 games. The catcher is owed $20 million next season and has steadily declined in each year since signing a five-year, $82 million deal with the Jays. Not surprisingly, Toronto will be eating a large portion of his salary.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 11, 2019
While Martin hit below .200 last season and just .221 the year before, he still walks plenty and had a respectable .338 on-base percentage. The Dodgers had a need at catcher after losing Yasmani Grandal in free agency, so Martin should pair with Austin Barnes behind the plate.
The Cleveland Indians have discussed the possibility of trading one of their top starting pitchers with multiple teams this offseason, and the talks they have had with the Los Angeles Dodgers apparently went beyond a casual conversation.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported on Sunday that the Indians and Dodgers have had “serious” discussions about a possible trade involving Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. However, Cleveland is looking for a massive haul of top prospects in return, and a deal still seems unlikely.
Sources: In Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer trade talks, #Indians have yet to move off their insistence on a Chris Sale-level return in order to move one of them. Discussions with #Dodgers have been serious, but no sign of recent progress. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 6, 2019
The Dodgers added two more prospects to their farm system in their massive trade involving Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp last month, so there was speculation that they could use those new assets as part of an attempt to get Kluber.
Both Kluber and Bauer had outstanding seasons last year, and the former is a two-time Cy Young Award winner. You can understand why the Indians want a massive return, especially since neither pitcher is all that expensive relative to his performance. Kluber is owed $17 million in 2019 and has club options of $15.5 million and $16 million in 2020 and 2021. Bauer has two more seasons of arbitration left.
The Dodgers are not the only team that has discussed trading for Kluber, but the Indians don’t seem all that motivated to deal him or Bauer.
It may be fair to say that Bryce Harper would be interested in playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Harper may have dropped a hint on Sunday evening when fans noticed that he liked a post on MLB’s Instagram wondering if the Dodgers were the favorites to sign him.
Bryce likes the idea pic.twitter.com/SV5Njz6AXx
— Clint (@DiamondHoggers) December 24, 2018
This may be one of those infamous “accidental likes” that we see on occasion from athletes, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. Harper has given no real hints otherwise as to his thinking in free agency, so we’ll take what we can get.
How interested the Dodgers are remains an open question. Anyone would welcome Harper on their team, but at least for the moment, the Dodgers seem to be prioritizing other needs. This market probably won’t move until January at the earliest.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ salary-clearing move on Friday made some believe that a pursuit of Bryce Harper would follow, and while it may still happen, it certainly doesn’t sound like the team’s top priority.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Dodgers have not ruled out a pursuit of Harper. However, their more pertinent need is for a right-handed hitter, and they are engaged in trade talks.
The #Dodgers certainly aren't dismissing the possibility of pursuing Bryce Harper,but acknowledge they are badly in need of a right-handed hitter on a team loaded with lefties in Bellinger, Muncy, Seager, Pederson, Verdugo and Toles. They're active in trade market for catcher/2B.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 22, 2018
The state of the Dodgers is probably the best argument against a pursuit of Harper. He’s a left-handed hitting outfielder and the Dodgers are not lacking in lefties or outfielders. That, in addition to the financial realities of the situation, make it more likely that the Dodgers will trade for a right-handed bat at a position of need and make that their major offseason move. An attempt to do something like re-engaging the Miami Marlins regarding J.T. Realmuto makes more sense than Harper does right now.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ major trade with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday may just be the prelude to something even bigger.
The Dodgers traded four players (Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Kyle Farmer) and $7 million to the Reds for Homer Bailey, Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs. The move created financial flexibility for the Dodgers, unblocked the jam of outfielders, and added two more prospects to their system. They may use those tools to revisit trade talks with the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Corey Kluber, according to a report.
Next order of business for the #Dodgers is Corey Kluber.
Per Source: #Dodgers and #Indians are once again discussing a trade centered around Corey Kluber. One rival executive told me: “I’d be blown away if Dodgers don’t get Kluber.”
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) December 21, 2018
The Cleveland Indians were looking to trim some payroll and were exploring trades involving Kluber and Trevor Bauer. However, they’ve already cut payroll to the point they may be able to keep both pitchers, so they’d have to get a nice return from the Dodgers to make a trade.
Outfield prospect Alex Verdugo, who is now slated to start in right field for the Dodgers, has been mentioned as a potential target for the Indians in trade talks.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ massive trade with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday led to speculation that they were clearing room and payroll to make a run at Bryce Harper, but that still seems unlikely.
The Dodgers’ intentions this offseason seem to be to remain under the luxury tax and keep their payroll at a relatively low amount. Including their signings of Joe Kelly and Hyun-Jin Ryu (who accepted his qualifying offer), the Dodgers’ payroll was projected to be around $202 million. Keep in mind that the luxury tax threshold for 2019 is at $206 million.
Trading Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood for Homer Bailey drops them down by about $20 million into the $182 million range, giving them flexibility to make a few moves. They probably will add a catcher as they’re losing Yasmani Grandal in free agency and traded Kyle Farmer to the Reds. They may want to try and make another upgrade or two.
Even after trading Kemp and Puig, the Dodgers still have plenty of outfield options including: Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor, and Andrew Toles.
If the Dodgers were so intent on staying under the luxury tax that they got rid of Puig, Kemp and Wood for two prospects and a player they’re planning to dump (Bailey), would they really splurge on Harper, who will likely cost over $30 million per season? That wouldn’t seem to fit with their motive entering 2019, which appears to be keeping payroll down.
Remember, an article from the Los Angeles Times last month said the Dodgers’ appeal to potential investors suggested they intended to keep their payroll at around $185 million the next two seasons. This trade with the Reds gets them to a place where they can add a catcher cheaply and be set going into the 2019 season around their seeming payroll plans.
If the Dodgers break the bank on a free agent this offseason, that would go against their leaked financial plans, not to mention management’s history of not paying out major free agent deals.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were looking to clear some payroll this offseason and accomplished that goal in a major trade with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Dodgers are trading Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, $7 million, and prospect Kyle Farmer to the Reds. Homer Bailey, Josiah Gray, and Jeter Downs are among the players going back to Los Angeles, according to reports.
You’re probably thinking to yourself: Puig and Kemp were very good last season, why would the Dodgers want to trade them? The answer has to do with money and roster space.
The Dodgers had a surplus of outfielders and were unable to play all of them at the same time. They often had Kemp or another slugger like Joc Pederson on the bench during the postseason when everyone was healthy. Because Kemp ($21.75 million) and Puig (due to make around $11 million in arbitration) are making the most money, it made the most sense to trade those two and keep the much cheaper Chris Taylor, Pederson, Enrique Hernandez and Cody Bellinger, who combine to make less than Puig. All four are under team control, with only Pederson and Hernandez in their second year of arbitration.
Wood is entering the final year of arbitration and expected to make $9 million.
The deal makes some sense for Cincinnati in the short-term. They get out of the money owed to Homer Bailey (around $28 million) and for around the same amount, they get a productive outfielder in Kemp. Plus they get Puig and Wood on essentially 1-year deals for a total expected to be around $20 million. This really helps add some pop to the lineup and protection for Joey Votto. But one has to wonder what their incentive is for getting rid of two prospects.
The Dodgers add quality prospects in Downs and Gray, who will help give them some future cost-controlled cheap options that have become so valuable these days.