Russell Martin was non-tendered by the Dodgers last night and the team seemingly replaced him behind the plate by re-signing Rod Barajas to a one-year deal, but today Martin’s agent told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that returning at a lesser salary and as a utility man may still be an option.
According to agent Matt Colleran, prior to the non-tender general manager Ned Colletti pitched the idea of Martin playing some second base, third base, and outfield in addition to catcher, but the two sides couldn’t agree on a contract before the midnight deadline. “He’s interested in the opportunity the Dodgers have described,” Colleran said.
Of course, Colleran also told Hernandez that six teams expressed interest in Martin as soon as he was non-tendered and there are various reports suggesting the Yankees were close to trading for him last night.
Martin’s willingness to play multiple positions is interesting, but the truth is that it’s been two years since he hit well enough to be an asset anywhere but behind the plate and ultimately the health of his fractured hip, not defensive versatility, will determine the bulk of his value.
According to Hernandez the Dodgers and Martin parted ways over a difference of $800,000 in guaranteed money.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.