The Blue Jays are hiring five-time All-Star Victor Martinez as a special assistant in their front office, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB.com. The longtime big league catcher has connections to Toronto president/CEO Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins dating back to their time together in the Cleveland organization during the 2000’s.
Martinez, a native of Venezuela, debuted with the Indians late in the 2002 season. He started with a nondescript year and a half before a breakout in 2004 at age 25. Martinez hit .283/.359/.492 that year, earning his first All-Star nod and Silver Slugger award. Martinez would remain one of the sport’s top catchers throughout his time in Cleveland, which ended at the 2009 trade deadline when he was dealt to the Red Sox. He spent a year and a half in Boston before signing a four-year deal with the Tigers in free agency.
That deal worked out beautifully for Detroit. Even as Martinez saw decreasing action behind the dish, he continued to mash into his mid-30’s. He led the American League with a .409 on-base percentage in 2014. A .335/.409/.565 showing earned Martinez a runner-up finish behind Mike Trout in that year’s MVP balloting. Martinez would re-sign with Detroit on another four-year contract the following winter, though his production tailed off throughout that contract.
After the 2018 season, Martinez announced his retirement. He concluded a 16-season big league career with a .295/.360/.455 line, 246 home runs and 1178 runs batted in over just fewer than 2000 MLB games. He’ll bring that wealth of experience to the Toronto baseball operations group.