Dodgers Trade Zach McKinstry to Cubs for Reliever Chris Martin

With just a few days remaining before this summer’s trade deadline, the Dodgers traded super-utility man Zach McKinstry to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for a super-veteran reliever in Chris Martin.

We’ve been discussing the Los Angeles bullpen quite a bit lately — particularly the role Craig Kimbrel might play during a prospective 2022 playoff run — and this latest move comes one day after Kimbrel nearly squandered a three-run ninth-inning lead against the Rockies on Friday.

That’s not to say the 36-year-old Martin will become a possible replacement for Kimbrel, though. While he has been a reliever his entire career, Martin has never recorded more than four saves in a season. As a matter of fact, the 6-foot-8 Arlington resident never had a season with an ERA under 3.00, aside from the 2020 pandemic season when he posted an impressive 1.00 ERA in 19 games with the Braves.

The Cubs signed the righty Martin on a free agent deal in mid-March of this year, but he hasn’t come anywhere close to replicating the numbers he put up in 2020, posting a 4.31 ERA and a 1.340 WHIP with 40 punchouts over 31-1/3 innings in 34 games this year.

If there’s any good news, it’s the fact that he’s healthy, he doesn’t walk many batters, and he has a relatively decent strikeout rate. He hasn’t spent any time on the injured list since 2021 after missing two weeks with an elbow issue and a little over a month with a shoulder problem.

Martin’s one-year contract with Chicago this season was worth $2.5 million.

According to Brooks Baseball, Martin primarily throws a four-seam, a cutter and an occasional slider. While his heater sat as high as 96-97 MPH in his heyday, he’s mostly been sitting in the 94-95 MPH range this year.

Based on his performance over the past few seasons, it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers using Martin in any extremely high situations, but we have seen crazier things happen — see Evan Phillips, Phil Bickford and Yency Almonte.

The 27-year-old McKinstry was one of those players who seemingly had a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, with the ability to play all over the yard. Fans will remember McKinstry earning his way onto the Opening Day roster in 2021 and hitting .300 with three homers and a handful of doubles over the month of April.

However, an oblique injury sidelined McKinstry in May of that same year, and he hasn’t been the same since offensively.

According to the new roster rules, the Dodgers will need to add a position player to the active roster to replace a pitcher when they add Martin.

24 thoughts on “Dodgers Trade Zach McKinstry to Cubs for Reliever Chris Martin

  1. Unless they’ve spotted something they think they can fix, I see absolutely no reason to add Martin to the roster. I don’t see where he’s any better than what we already have.

    Dennis you mention that he isn’t injured. With his stats, that might prove to be a disadvantage.

    I’m really happy for Zmac. He should get some decent playing time with the Cubs and be able to really get his major league career started.

  2. Jeff, the only thing I can come up with is his control. He has only given up three unintentional walks against 133 batters, and has a 30% strike out rate, I also read his metrics are better than his actual numbers. He’s given up a lot of HRs but maybe HRs in Wrigley are just long outs at Dodger Stadium.

    I think this is another one of those moves that could provide dividends, and if not, we did ZMac a favor, by letting him go somewhere that he can get some playing time.

    1. Can’t argue with your conclusions, Keith.
      And, let’s face it, Andrew has come up with these no-name acquisitions before and some of them have proven to be great.
      In any case, ZMac was the good soldier and deserved this break, even if Martin doesn’t ever turn into anything for us.

  3. I am excited they are bringing up Outman but wonder why. Outman strikes out but also walks a lot kind of a Peterson type as he also hits for power. Hopefully, they are keeping Thompson once Taylor is back. Outman can play all three outfield positions as can Thompson. Maybe they will sit Bellinger down from time to time. As they now have some legitimate outfielders. Maybe they will use Taylor in the infield and sit Muncy DOWN…Please…Muncy had a hit last night but also 3 strikeouts and he looked Bad. No clue.

    1. Doc said that Outman would start in right field tomorrow with Mookie at second.
      Barring other guys being sent out in trades, I would expect Outman to be back in OKC as soon as CT3 returns.

      Of course, they could also be experimenting based on the idea that they may wind up with Soto in right field on Tuesday.

      I wish they would just leave Lux alone and let him play second base every day, but it doesn’t look like that will happen.

      1. Lux has proven his worth. The Dodgers should respect that instead of always shuffling him around. Thompson is hot I am surprised Robert’s hasn’t benched him. If u aren’t a veteran Roberts treats guys poorly. Look at how he plays Muncy instead of someone that deserves those at bats.

      2. I see he is sitting Lux down but playing Muncy. Does that make sense to anyone not named Jeff ( Muncy is going to go wild real soon now?)

      3. Muntzy. That’s funny.

        What isn’t funny is how poorly he’s playing. Send him to the IL and trade for a professional DH.

      4. There’s gonna come a point in time in early October when it won’t even make sense to have Muncy on the roster. At least Bellinger can impress you with a few good defensive plays here and there.

  4. At this moment the dodgers record is good enough that they can afford to play Muncy, and Bellinger, and hope they can work their way out of their funks, if they can, then watch out the dodgers will be difficult to beat.
    I do think there will come a point in time when Roberts has to play other players, I don’t think his patience will last all season.

    1. If they haven’t by now, how can we believe they will down the stretch and into the playoffs?

      Maybe the team, as successful as it has been, is ok with two blind squirrels going into the playoffs. If so, I sure hope they are right. If it were me, I’d find at least one more confident veteran bat.

  5. You know the way Max is hitting, and with JT’s back, I could see AF trading for Drury, as insurance at third base. I wonder if Vargas is anywhere close to coming up, we may need someone there before the season is over.

  6. Item A. Roberts stated today that he is sticking with Muncy. End of discussion, Item B. Lux was sat simply to give Alberto playing time and him some rest. Item C. Martin will be activated today and somebody is getting DFA’d or sent down. So long Jake Reed. Item D. Good luck Chicago at least you will see some playing time. Item E. Rios is on a rehab assignment and could be back by the end of the week. Who goes then? Item F. With the deadline just 2 and half days away, and there being no significant chatter concerning a trade by the Dodgers, will they make one? Typical of the AF era, Andrew is keeping his moves close to the vest and the media wondering if he will once again pull off a blockbuster deal at the deadline.

  7. Progress Report:

    On Friday, I promised that over the next four games Max would have a total of 7-8 hits, including 4 homers.

    We have now gone through 2 of the 4 games, and I’m happy to report that he is pacing himself perfectly.

    Current Totals: 2 hits, 0 homers

    I am extremely confident that Max will have no problem in compiling 5-6 more hits between today and tomorrow, including 4 home runs.

    Stay tuned for further updates.

  8. Almost every post season, we lose because of the hitting and also pitchig depth. So once again we are going into the post-season with 2 regulars that can’t hit the mendoza line, and possible health problems at 3rd base? Af has to do something, big he always does. We have to hope Thompson can continue to play over his head and outman can do better than hit 2.25. Actually think he will be dfa’d this week. And good luck to Zak.

      1. Actually I meant they would trade him even up for Sota. Oh wait he is over 25.

      2. Outman is over 25, but not yet 26 (actually much closer to 25) so the Trade Simulator OK’s the trade based on age.

        However, based on yesterday’s results for both players (Outman 3-4, Soto 0-3), the Simulator says the Nats need to include their 3 top prospects to even out the deal.

  9. Saw a report that had the Dodgers trying to engage the Angels in trade talks for Ohtani, but the Angels are having none of that. I don’t blame AF for trying, but there is no way that Artie is going to trade any significant player, let alone Ohtani, to The Dodgers.

    Seems all of the Soto trade talk has gone dark for the last couple of days. Which surprises me because baseball writers usually have a lot of inside info during trade talks, some of them are very well connected.
    The Nationals, and whoever the few serious contenders for Soto are keeping very tight lips.

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