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Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin and Pittsburgh Pirates backstop Francisco Cervelli are on the trading block, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Passan also noted that numerous teams are interested in Martin’s and Cervelli’s services.
Martin had a career-low .663 OPS last season, but he still has some pop in his bat, as evidenced by 10 home runs in 90 games. He’ll be entering his age-36 season.
Cervelli, who had 12 home runs, 57 RBI and .809 OPS in 104 games for Pittsburgh last season, will turn 33 before Opening Day.
Passan pointed out that Martin and Cervelli are joining a catcher-heavy hot stove this year, with many players at their position already entering free agency:
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
The free agent market is still unusually deep for catchers. Yasmani Grandal, Wilson Ramos, Martín Maldonado, Robinson Chirinos, Evan Gattis, Matt Wieters, Devin Mesoraco, Jonathan Lucroy, among others. And that’s after Kurt Suzuki, Brian McCann and Jeff Mathis signed.
Despite the high supply of catchers, the demand for Martin and Cervelli may be decent.
Martin is a solid defensive catcher who has accumulated a 15.2 career defensive WAR, per Baseball Reference. While his age and .194 batting average would likely preclude any team from making him an everyday catcher, he could easily platoon with another backstop and help mentor a pitching staff.
As for Cervelli, catchers who get on base 36.2 percent of the time for their career aren’t frequently available. As Passan wrote, his on-base percentage is likely attractive for teams. He also may have a few more seasons left in the tank than your typical 33-year-old catcher, as he’s played in just 666 games during his 11-year career.
With both players on the final years of their respective contracts, the money won’t be too hard for any team to absorb. Ultimately, expect Martin and Cervelli to find new homes during the offseason given their skill sets.