It didn’t rock the boat, but the Dodgers are hoping their first pre-trade deadline acquisition on Saturday can help stabilize the ship down the stretch.
The team added veteran right-hand reliever Chris Martin in a deal with the Chicago Cubs, a man who was aware of the situation, folded an experienced hand into a bullpen while waiting for several other leading relievers to recover from injuries.
Business was more functional than lucrative.
In 34 games this year, the 36-year-old has an ERA of 4.31 but has one of the best strike rates (30.1%) and walk rates (3%) among the major leagues. He relies mostly on mph fastballs in the mid-90s, but has a total of six pitches in his arsenal. Having been with the Atlanta Braves last October, he has more recent postseason experience.
In return, the Dodgers are sending Cubs outfielder Zach McKinstry, a less-used left-handed reserve who showed potential as a rookie early last year but has since moved down the organizational depth charts, From which only two big leagues were started. this year.
While the Dodgers have the sixth-best ERA among relievers, their bullpen is still in precarious shape growing into the final months of the season – still unsure who they can count on when it comes to the playoffs.
Right-handers Blake Trianon (shoulder) and Danny Duffy (flexor tendon) have started facing hitters again, but are weeks away from returning to action.
Right-hander Tommy Kahnley (thumb) can follow them up front, while set-up man Daniel Hudson (torn ACL) is out for the season.
Brusadar Gratrol (shoulder) has been out for almost three weeks as the team is careful about his recovery.
The Dodgers are facing questions in the close role veteran Craig Kimbrel continues to struggle with during an up-and-down year.
Evan Phillips, Yancy Almonte, Caleb Ferguson and Alex Vescia have all stepped into leveraged roles in the meantime.
If Walker Buehler and Dustin May both recover before the end of the season, the Dodgers could have a surplus of starting pitchers who can help cover the innings.
With so many unknowns coming down the vibe, the addition of a more reliable – if unexpected – reliever made sense for the front office.
Martin fit the bill.
Martin did not make his MLB debut until 2014 when he was 27 years old. After struggling with both the Rockies and the New York Yankees for the next two years, he went abroad to try to revive his career, spending two seasons with the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan – where Angels star Shohei Ohtani was among his teammates. was one of
Martin returned to the major leagues in 2018 with the Texas Rangers, then was traded to the Braves before the 2019 deadline.
He had his most successful season in 2020, posting a 1.00 ERA in 19 regular-season games and a 2.25 ERA in nine postseason games – although he scored the decisive run in Game 7 of the NLCS leaving the Dodgers at home to Cody Bellinger. run.
After posting a 3.95 ERA last year, Martin signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Cubs this off-season.
However, his biggest objective for the Dodgers will come in the next three months.
It won’t be one of the most notable trades of this year’s time frame, but the Dodgers are hoping they can further consolidate their bullpen depth as they look to October and the playoffs.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.