We’ve reached the middle of February, but longtime major league catcher Russell Martin is still without a job. He’s the best backstop left on a market that has drastically dwindled since last season ended. As of November, Martin was still planning to play in 2020. That remains the case, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
While Martin has received chances to sign with teams since 2019 ended, he has turned down those opportunities for family reasons, Sherman reports. However, expectations are that he’ll put himself back on the market within the “next few weeks,” per Sherman.
Since the offseason commenced, the Athletics have been the only team connected to Martin in the rumor mill. Wherever he goes (if he signs anywhere), he’ll have to settle for a low-paying major league contract or even a minors deal. But that’s not to dismiss Martin’s vast accomplishments. Set to turn 37 on Saturday, the former Dodger, Yankee, Pirate and Blue Jay is statistically one of the most successful catchers ever, ranking ninth all-time at his position in fWAR (55.2).
Although Martin’s no longer the player he was in his heyday, the four-time All-Star still has something to offer. Martin was worth 1.2 fWAR in a part-time role last season in Los Angeles, where he hit .220/.337/.330 in 249 plate appearances. He also rated as one of the top pitch-framing catchers in the game. Beyond statistics, Martin has always been thought of as a high-quality teammate and leader, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him end up in a major league uniform yet again in 2020.