We knew that free agent catcher Russell Martin would carry a high price tag. According to Sportsnet.ca, here’s how high: $75-80 million over five years.
If true, the $75-80 million might not scare off the Dodgers as much as the five years. Martin turns 32 in February. A five-year contract would take him through his age-36 season. He is coming off a season in which he missed 21 games due to a hamstring injury, only the second disabled list stint of his career.
Martin’s most highly touted value as a catcher is his ability to frame pitches. He excels at other aspects of the position; Martin only committed three passed balls last year in 940 innings behind the plate, on par with Gold Glove winner Yadier Molina (who caught nine fewer innings). His catcher’s ERA of 3.31 was second to Molina among NL catchers who appeared in at least 100 games. He threw out 38.5 percent of attempted base stealers in 2014 and 40 percent in 2013, both among the top 10 in the National League.
But if the Dodgers are afraid that Martin’s offense will fall off, history justifies their hesitation. Here are two pieces (via FanGraphs.com and TribLive.com) that used history to guide the question of how well catchers perform on offense as they age.
No doubt the Dodgers have studied those numbers, and probably a few more too, while pondering a reunion (with a catcher who’s never played for Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi or Josh Byrnes). They have reportedly lined up a meeting with Martin’s agent, Matt Colleran.
The Dodgers added a pair of executives, both from the Boston Red Sox’s front office, according to this tweet Monday:
Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda tends to speak his mind with a microphone in his face.
Tommy Lasorda doesn’t have an MVP vote. If he did, the former Dodgers manager — and former pitcher — wouldn’t vote for Clayton Kershaw
Considering his effervescent love for all things Dodgers, it was a surprising sentiment from the 87-year-old Hall of Famer.
The question arose Monday when Todd Hollandsworth — who won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1996, when he played for Lasorda — was interviewing Lasorda for MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM.
“We know how obviously talented [Kershaw] is but there’s a debate that still exists,” Hollandsworth said. “Do you think a pitcher like Clayton Kershaw, of his ability, should win the MVP Award? Should he be considered for the MVP or just the Cy Young?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Lasorda replied. “I don’t think pitchers should win the MVP Award. I think pitchers should win the pitching award, the Cy Young Award, but not the MVP because he only goes out there every four or five games. The other guys go out there every day and that makes a big difference in that award. I think it should be set that pitchers should not get the Most Valuable Player.”
The MVP award winners from both leagues will be announced Thursday.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Friday that “we are trying to solve for talent and be as creative as we can to put the best team on the field as we can.”
How creative can Friedman and his colleagues be? We’ll find out soon enough.
One obvious trading partner for the Dodgers’ glut of outfielders all but eliminated itself from consideration Monday, when the Mets signed Michael Cuddyer to a two-year contract. The Mets’ outfield is full now with Cuddyer, right fielder Curtis Granderson and center fielder Juan Lagares.
Hanley Ramirez batted .283 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs in 2014. (Getty Images)
did not accept the Dodgers’ qualifying offer by the Monday afternoon deadline, making him a free agent.
Ramirez was not expected to take the qualifying offer, a one-year $15.3 million contract for 2015, which would have amounted to a pay cut from his 2014 salary. No player has accepted his team’s qualifying offer in the three years since it became an option.
Though he played exclusively at shortstop in 2014, Ramirez’s future is seen at either as a corner infielder, corner outfielder, or designated hitter in the American League. Since the Dodgers are set at those positions for next season (and don’t have the option of using a designated hitter), they are not expected to try to entice Ramirez with a multiyear contract.
According to various reports, and even his own Twitter bio, Ramirez is open to changing positions. That could make him a very desirable player in a free-agent market lacking right handed power hitters.
Is Hanley Ramirez willing to switch positions for his next team?
This isn’t the Dodgers’ most pressing concern at the moment, but it was interesting to see that Ramirez changed his Twitter bio Monday morning from “MLB shortstop” to “MLB player.”
We promise not to make this a daily update … unless Hanley changes his mind again.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, one of the first orders of business for the Dodgers’ new front office includes trading an outfielder.
There’s no surprise there. What’s interesting is the names on the trade list.
The Dodgers never shopped their outfielders aggressively under former general manager Ned Colletti. Now it seems front-office shakeup could be followed by a shakeup of the major league roster.
Gabe Kapler speaks to the Taft High School baseball and softball team during a stop at his alma mater on the Dodgers Community Caravan in 2011. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)
Gabe Kapler formally joined the Dodgers’ front office Friday with a ringing endorsement from a former teammate. Check out what retired pitcher C.J. Nitkowski wrote today on FoxSports.com about Kapler.
Hanley Ramirez dropped a strong hint in a series of tweets Thursday that he will not accept the Dodgers’ qualifying offer, a $15.3 million contract for 2015.
Ramirez has said in the past that he takes a hands-off approach to contract negotiations. While he’s expressed his two cents to the world on Twitter — and likely to his agents, Adam Katz Andy Mota — Ramirez’s camp has not formally rejected the qualifying offer, according to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
This seems to be a matter of time. Ramirez has until the end of the week to decide, and might just be taking his time. It’s more likely that his agents are negotiating with other teams than mulling the qualifying offer at this point.
Earlier today, Farhan Zaidi was introduced as the Dodgers’ new general manager. Here are some highlights from his press conference that didn’t make my main story (which you can read here):