Blue Jays deal Martin to Dodgers, avoid arbitration with five players
By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
TORONTO -- In continuation of their recent efforts to reduce the average age of the team's 25-man roster, the Toronto Blue Jays have dealt C/INF Russell Martin (East York, Ont.) to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a pair of prospects in RHP Andrew Sopko and INF Ronny Brito.
Selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2015 draft, Sopko, 24, has posted an ERA of 3.61 across four seasons of affiliated ball, the latest of which was spent with double-A Tulsa. In 85 games (75 starts) as a professional, the 6-foot-2 product of Missoula, Mont., has walked only 112 batters while striking out 363 and allowing a mere 36 home runs through 394 1/3 frames.
Brito, 19, slashed .295/.359/.496 with 25 extra-base hits across 61 games split between the Dodgers Dominican Summer League and Pioneer League outposts in 2018. Regarded as a plus defender with speed and a developing bat, the switch-hitting Dominican native was listed as the Dodgers 23rd top prospect ahead of Friday's deal.
Martin, 35, appeared in 447 games with the Blue Jays after signing a five-year, $82M deal in November of 2014, slashing .225/.336/.399 while being named an All-Star on one occasion and serving as a catalyst on playoff squads over back to back seasons in 2015 and 2016.
Barring additional trades, Martin's departure should create additional at-bats for fellow catcher Danny Jansen, who, after posting an OPS of .779 over his first 31 games at the Major League Level, checks in with the third spot on MLB Pipeline's list of Blue Jays top prospects.
In other roster-related news, the Blue Jays came to terms with five of their nine arbitration eligible players ahead of Friday's 1:00 p.m. deadline.
Marcus Stroman leads the pack at $7.4M, while Ken Giles is set to take home $6.3M, Devon Travis will get $1.92M, Brandon Drury will receive $1.3M and Joe Biagini will now earn $900K for his services during the upcoming campaign.
That leaves RHPs Aaron Sanchez and Ryan Tepera, along with outfielders Kevin Pillar and Randal Grichuk susceptible to the process should the two sides fail to come to an agreement between now and their respective hearing dates.
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