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.