Heyman: Dodgers Offered Martin Four Years and $74 Million

We still don’t really know what the Dodger catching situation is going to look like in 2015, but I imagine it’s not going to look like it does right now. A.J. Ellis was tendered a contract, Drew Butera was DFA’d, and Ryan Lavarnway was claimed. Ellis has much to prove coming off a poor 2014, Lavarnway may not even be considered a catcher any longer —  he played twice as many games at first base in Triple-A as he did behind the plate this year — and Tim Federowicz‘ bat has provided no indication that he can even stick as a backup. All three are on the 40-man and are out of options. At least one of them is going to be DFA’d before the season starts, and you’d expect that some kind of upgrade — Yasmani Grandal, Jason Castro, whatever the front office can come up with — is going to arrive.

While the future is uncertain, we have learned a little bit about what they’d hoped to do. According to Jon Heyman this morning, in a column about how the Dodgers haven’t yet made any major moves beyond the likes of Joel Peralta and Chris Heisey, there’s a nugget about the offer they made to Russell Martin before he signed with Toronto:

In fact, word comes now from someone with ties to the team that the Dodgers did bid $74 million over four years on Russell Martin, their old catcher, who went to the Jays for $82 million over five years, finishing second in dollars, anyway (the Cubs are said to have bid $70 million).

The usual “if true” caveats apply, though that’s a pretty specific dollar amount to not have good intel on. If so, the Dodgers actually offered Martin more per year ($18.5 million) than the Jays did ($16.4 million) in an attempt to avoid a fifth year. There’s also the potentially large issue of whether Martin, who was born in Toronto, would have been able to refuse the opportunity to return to his homeland — people do so often forget that while money usually talks in free agency, the player has a say in where he wants to live and work.

If the Dodgers were to offer that fifth year and offer enough to have enticed Martin to choose against Canada, we might be talking about something like five years for $90 million, and I’m sure I’m not alone when I say no thanks to that. I know a lot of Dodger fans are very disappointed that Martin isn’t coming back, because as I just said, the catching situation is a mess and there’s no clear path to an upgrade. But it sure does seem like the Dodgers put forth a competitive offer and drew the line where it needed to be drawn. We’ve seen far too many times how badly over-extending past the point of sanity can come back to bite you.

About Mike Petriello

Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.