Free agent catcher Russell Martin intends to play at least one more season, Jon Heyman reports. Heyman notes that Martin has already begun his offseason training regimen.
Martin, 36, has seen his offensive numbers decline each season since 2014, not an uncommon trend for a player approaching his late-30’s. This past season, Martin hit .220/.337/.330 with six home runs and 20 RBI in 249 plate appearances with the Dodgers. In his only postseason appearance, he doubled, homered, and knocked in four runs in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Nationals.
While Martin, a veteran of 14 seasons, is only slightly above replacement level these days, he should still draw some interest as a backup catcher.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).