Free agent Russell Martin to join Blue Jays

Toronto-born catcher to get 5-year, $82 million deal

The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired Toronto-born catcher Russell Martin from free agency. Martin, 31, is a three-time All Star coming off what is arguably his best season playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Martin started his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he spent five productive seasons before doing two two-year stints with the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is banking on Martin’s experience and defensive prowess to lead the Jays into the post-season for the fist time since 1993. Last season, Martin led the Pirates into the post-season for the second straight year, batting .290 in 111 games and leading the league in pickoffs.

Reports from the Jays say Martin will make $82 million over a five-year period, or $16.4 million per season. The deal will be the second-most lucrative deal in Blue Jays history.

The acquisition has brought up questions about the 2015 roster. Currently, the Jays have three catchers, including Dioner Navarro, who caught 112 games for the Jays last season, batting .274 and knocking in 69 RBIs. Navarro may become the Jay’s full-time designated hitter, a role that was partially filled by the recently traded Adam Lind.

Martin, born in East York, but raised in Montreal, will now be the third Canadian in the Jays opening day lineup. He joins third baseman Brett Lawrie and infielder Dalton Pompey.