The Los Angeles Dodgers traded Zach McKinstry to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for veteran relief pitcher Chris Martin.
McKinstry was selected by the Dodgers in the 33rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft and once appeared to be an heir apparent to Kiké Hernandez in a super utility role. However, McKinstry had a modest season while appearing in 60 games last year and never quite gained traction in 2022.
Despite being on the Dodgers’ active roster for 39 games this season, he only appeared in 10. One of McKinstry’s two starts this year came in the series opener against the Colorado Rockies, during which he went hitless but drew two walks and twice scored.
Overall with L.A. this season, McKinstry went 1-for-11 with one home run, two RBI and three walks.
Despite Edwin Ríos still being on the mend from a right hamstring strain that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts described as a “Grade 3 or Grade 4 tear,” McKinstry was seemingly behind Eddy Alvarez on the depth chart.
Jake Lamb and Trayce Thompson both emerging of late further cut into opportunities for McKinstry.
Regardless of when Martin joins the team, the Dodgers need to add a position player to their active roster. Multiple reports indicate the Dodgers will recall James Outman from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday.
What Chris Martin brings to Dodgers
The 35-year-old reliever has thrown 31.1 innings this year and struggled to the tune of a 4.31 ERA, however, Martin’s underlying stats are much more intriguing. He has struck out 30.1% of batters faced while walking just 3%, amounting to a 3.02 FIP.
Martin also has a .393 BABIP to go along with a home run rate that is 6% higher than his career average and more than 10% higher than where he has been at the last two seasons. Both of those are likely to regress, which in turn would help lower Martin’s ERA.
Martin has been hit hard this year, ranking in the bottom 30% of pitchers in average exit velocity allowed, hard-hit rate and barrel rate, and he has additionally been near the bottom of the league in getting hitters to chase.
But with the Dodgers bullpen still waiting on the returns of Brusdar Graterol, Tommy Kahnle and Blake Treinen, Martin offers some depth and an upside play.
Over his career, Martin has pitched for the Colorado Rockies (2014), New York Yankees (2015), Texas Rangers (2018-2019), Atlanta Braves (2019-21) and Cubs (2022). The right-hander memorably was on the wrong end of Cody Bellinger’s home run in Game 7 of the 2020 National League Championship Series.
Martin is due to become a free agent after the 2022 season.
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