Tag:Russell Martin
Posted on: October 13, 2010 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm

R.I.P. Dodgers: Divorce drama dominates

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Los Angeles Dodgers.

Things looked promising after 2009, when the Dodgers won their second consecutive National League West title and made it two straight trips to the NLCS.

And yet somehow, by the time camp broke in 2010, it was clear that this was a team that was in for a long season. The ongoing divorce of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt had generated sensational headlines and hamstrung the team financially. Without financial flexibility, general manager Ned Colletti was unable to add the pitching the Dodgers needed.

The result was an 80-82 season filled with frustration and distractions, and one of baseball’s proudest franchises is in trouble if the ownership mess isn’t straightened out soon.


Pitching was an issue throughout the season, as there wasn’t enough in the rotation to back up Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw (though Hiroki Kuroda was a nice surprise) and the bullpen caused as many fires as it put out. George Sherrill collapsed, and closer Jonathan Broxton pitched himself out of a job.

Manny Ramirez The offensive picture might have been a lot different if their $20 million slugging outfielder had shown up, figuratively or literally. Instead of vintage Manny Ramirez, they ended up with a post-suspension slap hitter who seemed dedicated to finding ways not to play baseball. He had just 196 at-bats and hit eight homers, not exactly what the Dodgers were hoping for.

Ramirez wasn’t alone as a distraction. Coming off a big season, Matt Kemp saw his batting average drop nearly 50 points, looked lost at times in the outfield after winning a Gold Glove the year before, and was constantly in a beef with someone. He clashed with teammates, coaches and staff.

Russell Martin continued to struggle with his injuries, and Andre Ethier broke his finger in May and never was the same. Rafael Furcal and Vicente Padilla also spent time on the DL.


Ethier took steps forward despite his finger issue, and Kershaw and Billingsley stepped up. Hong-Chih Kuo was a revelation in relief, and he and rookie Kenley Jansen give the Dodgers some good options at the end of the pen in the future.

Beyond that, good news was pretty tough to find.

The minor-league ranks were thinned when Colletti, badly misreading his club’s potential, decided the Dodgers were still in contention and shipped out a ton of players in trades for Ted Lilly, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot and Octavio Dotel – none of whom was signed past 2010.

Colletti’s shopping spree didn’t leave the cupboard completely bare. The closest they have to actual help from the minors is probably outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who upped his stock in a big way this season.

It will depend almost entirely on what happens with the McCourt mess.  The team could be tied up in court and financially hamstrung. Commissioner Bud Selig or the courts could force the McCourts to sell, giving the team a new lease on the future.


The Dodgers have got some decisions to make.

One is on Matt Kemp. They need to get everybody into a room and work this thing out once and for all, or cut their losses and just admit they can’t get along. He has trade value.

Another is Martin. He’s just not the same player he was a couple of years ago, and now he’s coming off hip surgery and he could make as much as $7 million in arbitration. With the promising A.J. Ellis on board, they might be better off trading Martin before he puts up another .248/.347/.332 and loses all his value.

Word is that Lilly is open to returning, and that would be money well-spent -- they don’t want to enter next season short in the rotation again.


The McCourts’ drama shows no sign of abating, and even if they put the team on the market tomorrow, it’s unlikely a sale could be completed in time to solidify the Dodgers’ situation in time to help 2011. An unproven, rookie manager, plenty of drama – this doesn’t look like the recipe for immediate success. Tough to see the Dodgers finishing better than third in the division.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: August 5, 2010 8:24 pm

Dodgers' Martin likely out for the season

Russell Martin Add Russell Martin to the list of players we won't see the rest of this season.

"It looks like it's going to be the rest of the year," the Los Angeles Times ' Dylan Hernandez tweets .

Martin is not only done for the Dodgers' season, but also could be done with the Dodgers. Martin was scheduled to undergo an MRI a torn labrum in his right hip.

The Dodgers will use Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis -- a 41-year old and a 29-year old rookie -- to fill Martin's catchers pads.

Neither is the long-term solution for the Dodgers, especially since Ausmus has announced he'd retire after the season.

The Dodgers have to make a choice on whether to tender Martin a contract. He's eligible for arbitration, but could be more expensive than he's worth, especially considering his recent decline.

Here's a look at his last four seasons:
2010: .248/.347/.332 5 home runs, 26 RBI
2009: .250/.352/.329 7 home runs, 53 RBI
2008: .280/.385/.396 13 home runs, 69 RBI
2007: .293/.374/.469 19 home runs, 87 RBI
Martin had been approached earlier in his career about an extension, but chose year-to-year deals. That seems to have backfired on him, not only did he not strike when his performance made him the most valuable, his future is also uncertain. Because he's not under contract for next season, he won't have access to the Dodgers' trainers or facilities as he rehabs from his injury. A team could sign him to an incentive-laden deal and he'd find a place to rehab and work back from his injury. Catchers are still a premium, so someone should take a chance, but it's still an uncomfortable situation for Martin.

Earlier today, the Red Sox said Kevin Youkilis was done for the season and the Indians said goodbye to the rookie season of Carlos Santana.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 5, 2010 12:02 am

Dodgers stuck with Martin injury

Russell Martin The Los Angeles Dodgers today got bad news when learning that Russell Martin tore the labrum in his left hip. The injury plants him on the 15-day disabled list and may wipe him out for the season.

This makes Brad Ausmus the de facto starter, even though the club also recalled A.J. Ellis. Ellis has a tremendous eye, but is also 29 and has yet to nail down even a backup job in the majors. If the Dodgers were more concerned with getting its internal, viable options playing time, Ellis might be able to step into the breach. Instead, he's working on a .204/.286/.224 line in 58 plate appearances during an earlier stint. That comprises 82 percent of Ellis' major-league experience.

Ellis also has minimal time at Triple-A this season in the amount of 10 games, so it will be difficult for the Dodgers to justify putting him in the starting lineup, even if he is their best option. (As good as Ausmus has been defensively over his career, he's made just four appearances on the year prior to Wednesday's game thanks to injury and hit .218/.303/.296 in his last extended time at the plate for the Padres in 2008.)

Due to the ill-advised trading of Carlos Santana for Casey Blake in the 2008 season, the Dodgers suddenly find themselves with minimal depth at the catching position. (One can't assume Santana would have been barrelled over by the NL version of Ryan Kalish and been placed on the disabled list as well.)

The Santana-Blake deal was derided from Day One even though Blake has been a solid contributor for the Dodgers as Santana has morphed into one of the best prospects in the game. Compounding things is a deal the Dodgers made with the Royals, shipping Lucas May and an additional prospect for Scott Podsednik. Good job, Ned Colletti!

The Dodgers could, of course, strike to deepen their catching through a waiver trade, although it's unclear who would be on the block. Even the rebuilding teams don't have much flexibility in this area, so Mr. Ned has his work cut out for him. Given his track record, don't bet on a smart solution.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 17, 2010 5:05 pm

Dodger duo to avoid DL

There are no plans to place Manny Ramirez on the disabled list, Dodgers manager Joe Torre told reporters, including the Los Angeles Times ' Steve Dilbeck before Saturday's game against the Cardinals.

Ramirez, in fact, was eligible to pinch hit against St. Louis and should return to the field next week. Ramirez has been on the disabled list twice this season with right leg injuries. He left Friday's game in the first inning with a right calf tightness.

"I think we have to keep an eye on Manny for the rest of the year," Torre said.

The Dodgers will also be without catcher Russell Martin, who is dealing with an injured thumb. Martin was not in Saturday's lineup and won't play Sunday, either.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: June 24, 2010 12:29 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2010 12:49 pm

Johnson, Martin blunder way to Dodgers loss

Russell Martin Jack Moore over at FanGraphs has a fantastic breakdown of the baserunning blunder that cost the Dodgers the game against the Angels on Wednesday night.

No, not the Matt Kemp pick-off at second by Brian Fuentes that seems to have been a balk -- although that certainly played a large role in how the game played out.

There were actually two blunders on the same play, as Moore shows, breaking down the actual game video and creating bird's eye views of the situation. Russell Martin and Reed Johnson were on first and second, respectively, with two outs in the ninth inning. The Dodgers were down by a run, and Jamey Carroll lifted a single that dropped just in front of oncoming left fielder Juan Rivera.

Johnson bolted for third and then eased up off the gas, expecting to coast into home plate without a throw. He was right -- except Rivera threw to second and nipped Martin (photo courtesy MLB video), who was straying off second base expecting a throw home. If that had occurred, Martin would have dashed to third. It didn't happen and the Angels squeaked out a 2-1 victory.

While Johnson's blunder was certainly what cost the Dodgers the game more, it was Martin's blunder that was more egregious. Johnson did let up on the pedal, but you can't expect ballplayers to give 100 percent on every single play. I've seen figures bandied about, one of which is that the average effort put forth on a running play is 80 percent. Going out 100 percent all the time lends oneself to more injuries, as those with "all-out" reputations can attest to.

Additionally, there was no throw to home and Johnson seemed to only speed up when the on-deck batter started urging him to do so after Rivera threw to second. Martin, however, should have been more aware of his surroundings. Yes, third base would have been nice, but there is a reason second base counts as scoring position too -- as Martin well knows.

"Now that you think about it, it’s just a dumb play," Martin told the Los Angeles Times . "Whether I get on third base or stay on second, I’m still in scoring position. It is an aggressive mistake, but it’s probably the last time I make it. I was still safe, though, you can let the umpire know."

Unfortunately, most events of this nature cause overreactions -- one reason why the Angels' patience after the Kendry Morales freak injury has been so impressive. The Dodgers will likely be one of the more conservative running teams from here on out and likely lose a couple of runs the rest of the way just from being overly cautious.

"You can't make mistakes like that at this level. You've got to know the outs, you've got to know the situation, when to take a chance and when not to take a chance," said manager Joe Torre to MLB.com. "I'm pretty sure it won't happen again. That guy's got to score to tie the game. We need to think a lot better than that."

There's no question that Johnson and Martin screwed up, but the lasting effects may be more damaging.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com