Russell Martin
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Blue Jays trade Russell Martin to Dodgers

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Arash Madani is reporting that the Toronto Blue Jays are trading Russell Martin to the Los Angeles Dodgers. No word yet on the return. It is presumed, however, that the Blue Jays will be eating a good portion of Martin’s $20 million salary for 2019.

Martin, who will turn 36 next month, played in 90 games last year and hit .194/.338/.325 with ten homers. This year will be the last year of the five-year, $82 million deal he signed with the Blue Jays. In Los Angeles — where he started his career back in 2006 — look for him to be a backup catcher and, if recent form holds, an occasional fill-in at third base, and a clubhouse guy.

UPDATE: The Dodgers are sending two minor leaguers to Toronto: starting pitcher Andrew Sopko, who had a 3.52 ERA, 2.1 BB/9, 9.3 K/9 in 117.2 IP between Double-A Tulsa and Hi-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2018, and shortstop Ronny Brito, who posted an .841 OPS with 11 HR in 244 PAs with Rookie Level Ogden.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.