Door open for Martin to return to LA in new role

Door open for Martin to return to LA in new role

LOS ANGELES -- The agent for Russell Martin said six teams have expressed interest in the catcher in the short time since the Dodgers declined to tender him a contract Thursday night.

Matt Colleran also said he and Martin have not discussed in detail the suggestion from general manager Ned Colletti that Martin return to the Dodgers in more of a utility role that would include infield and outfield play. The Dodgers signed free agent Rod Barajas on Friday to replace Martin behind the plate.

"Russell and I haven't discussed that in detail," Colleran said. "I know he loves to catch. But he's more athletic than most catchers. He played the infield until '03, when he was converted to catcher. It's not new to him. I'll see what he thinks about it and look at the other opportunities against what the Dodgers have to offer and make a decision."

Colleran said that Martin's medical status -- he is recovering from a broken right hip -- will slow the free-agency process because clubs need to evaluate medical records.

"I don't think it's possible to happen quickly," he said.

According to The New York Times, the Dodgers sent medical records to the New York Yankees before the deadline as the teams worked on a trade that would have sent Martin to New York for catcher Francisco Cervelli. Colletti had no comment on whether he came close to trading Martin before the deadline.

The Yankees are believed to be one of the six teams that have contacted Colleran.

Colletti said he was not comfortable guaranteeing Martin $5 million plus incentives with uncertainty about the catcher's health, his offensive performance (which declined the past two years) or his willingness and capability to play other positions.

The Dodgers offered $4.2 million, plus $1.5 million in incentives. One source indicated that Martin asked for $5 million guaranteed, plus $1 million in incentives -- which Colleran denied.

"He wanted to remain a Dodger," said Colleran. "That door is still open, although maybe in a different role. Sometimes it's difficult when you're brought up in a system and you've had success -- it's difficult to leave the family. We'll see what the next chapter has for him. The way I left it with Ned, the door is not shut."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.