The Los Angeles Dodgers’ first deal before the MLB trade deadline was acquiring relief pitcher Chris Martin from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Zach McKinstry.
The 35-year-old reliever had thrown 31.1 innings for the Cubs and struggled to the tune of a 4.31 ERA. However, he has struck out 30.1% of batters faced while walking just 3%, amounting to a 3.02 FIP.
Additionally, Martin’s .393 BABIP with a home run rate that is 6% higher than his career average and more than 10% higher from where he has been the last two seasons suggests he is due for better production.
Martin has also found some success in the postseason with a career 2.19 ERA in 12.1 innings, but he did give up one of the most memorable home runs in Dodgers franchise history to Cody Bellinger in Game 7 of the 2020 National League Championship Series.
With the Atlanta Braves, Martin was most often used late in the game as a high-leverage reliever, but with the Cubs, he has appeared anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning. He believes that versatility should help him fit in with the Dodgers, via SportsNet LA:
“I think it’s going to be a good fit because with the Cubs, I was kind of all over the map, and I think that’s what’s going to go on here. Kind of got acclimated with that with the Cubs, moving around in different situations and different innings, which is something that we were doing over there, so I should fit right in.”
Martin was most often used by the Cubs in the seventh inning this season, appearing in 12 games there, followed by 11 appearances in the sixth inning. In four appearances with the Dodgers thus far, Martin has twice entered in the fifth inning, and one each in the sixth and eighth.
Once some of the Dodgers’ injured relievers start to get healthy, such as Blake Treinen, Tommy Kahnle and Brusdar Graterol, Martin could end up being pushed back to the middle innings while occasionally filling in as a bridge later in the game to closer Craig Kimbrel.
But no matter what role he ends up playing in the bullpen, Martin was an intriguing acquisition at a low cost that should be able to provide the club with quality innings down the stretch and more depth to an already-talented bullpen.
Chris Martin improved after Dodgers debut
Since allowing a home run in his first game with the Dodgers, Martin has followed that up with four perfect innings over four appearances.
Dodgers pitching coaches have proven time and again their ability to help mitigate issues and refine various matters, and Martin could soon become their latest success story.
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