Russell Martin, Nomar Garciaparra, the 2006 Dodgers and tequila shots

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Jeff Blair of Sportsnet writes about how Russell Martin will fit in as a team leader in Toronto. As part of that, he goes back to Martin’s 2006 debut with the Dodgers and how the veterans on that team dealt with losing streaks:

They had lost five games in a row and called up Martin to make his major-league debut going into a Cinco de Mayo tilt at Petco Park against the San Diego Padres, and a friend of Garciaparra’s had given him a bottle of tequila. So Garciaparra put two and two together and figured the team should do shots in order to break the losing streak. Martin, 23 and on the verge of going 2-for-4 in what would be the first of 121 games in his rookie season, sat there with a bemused expression and looked up as Josh Rawitch — now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but back then the Dodgers’ public relations director — sidled over and said, “Don’t worry. It’s not like this happens every day.”

I want to believe that’s true, but memories may be weird. Martin’s May 5, 2006 debut was actually in Los Angeles against the Brewers — the Padres had actually been in L.A. just before, bringing that losing streak to five games — so I assume it was a postgame tequila party, not the pregame shots this anecdote implies.

All of that said — and with all of my past skepticism about veteran leadership and it often being oversold — I do think Martin will be a nice addition to a Blue Jays team that has often seemed rudderless. Even if he doesn’t make everyone do tequila shots.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.