Toronto Blue Jays jump in, sign Russell Martin

In a surprising twist of events the Toronto Blue Jays have just completed the biggest free agent signing so far this offseason and it is the clubs’ largest under the tenure of general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

They have just signed catcher Russell Martin to a five-year deal according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The deal is said to be worth $82 million and is somewhat shocking as the Blue Jays were believed to be shopping for a center fielder, left fielder and an infielder.

However, the Blue Jays see Martin as a player who will age well. Martin will be 36 during the final season of this contract.

Up until yesterday it was believed that the Chicago Cubs were the biggest player in the bid to sign Martin. It was Ken Rosenthal who reported that the Blue Jays had jumped into the mix.

From what I understand the Blue Jays must have turned to Russell after Victor Martinez re-signed with the Detroit Tigers and it appears the Cubs were offering Russell a four-year deal worth around $64 million.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates were also believed to be the favorites for signing Martin.

Then it seems the Blue Jays jumped in and offered Martin more years and more money. He jumped on it, signed it and is currently undergoing a physical.

It’s a good move for the Blue Jays, even though they have other needs they do need to address elsewhere.

Martin, 31, is coming off a career year in 2014. He hit .290/.402/.430, had an OPS of .832 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI.

What Martin is really known for are his skills behind the plate. He had a caught stealing percentage of 39 in 2014.

A three-time All-Star, Martin is believed to be a good veteran presence in the clubhouse, what some might call a clubhouse culture changer.

It is a shocking, but not bad, move by the Blue Jays and so far the biggest surprise signing of the winter.

 

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