Russell Martin is coming home. The free agent catcher has reportedly signed a five-year, $82 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.
This might be the most important free agent signing the Blue Jays have made in years. Martin was born in Toronto. Although he spent much of his childhood in Montreal, he helps to give the team its Canadian identity.
It also doesn’t hurt he is one of the best catchers in the game. He will easily supplant Dioner Navarro as the everyday catcher while Josh Thole will continue to catch knuckleballer and former Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. Martin spent the past two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and both years the Bucs earned NL Wild Card spots after going more than 20 years without a winning season. He has also played with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. He was named to the All-Star team twice with the Dodgers and once with the Yankees. In nine big league seasons, Martin, 31, has hit .259 with 119 HR and 540 RBI and has earned one Gold Glove behind the plate.