Cubs kick off trade deadline by dealing reliever to Dodgers for up-and-coming utility player
The Cubs began what figures to be a busy trade deadline by dealing veteran reliever Chris Martin to the Dodgers.
In return, the Cubs acquired 27-year-old utility man Zach McKinstry. The former 33rd-round pick emerged on the national scene with a stellar 2019 season in the Dodgers’ minor league system, hitting .300 with an .882 OPS and 19 homers.
McKinstry made his MLB debut in LA in 2020 and has appeared in 74 games for the Dodgers over the last three seasons. He hit .091 with a .649 OPS in 14 plate appearances this year.
In 48 games at Triple-A this season, McKinstry is slashing .335/.417/.487 (.904 OPS) with 17 extra-base hits and 25 RBI. He bats left-handed and can play all over the diamond. In the minors, he was mostly an infielder but in LA, the Fort Wayne, Ind., native saw much of his time in the outfield with appearances at second and third base.
McKinstry represents an MLB-ready utility player for the Cubs who is under team control through the 2027 season.
Martin, 36, was a valuable reliever for David Ross’ bullpen all season. He signed a 1-year, $2.5 million deal as a free agent after the lockout after three years with the Braves (including the World Series run last fall).
The right-hander was 1-0 with a 4.31 ERA for the Cubs in 34 appearances but his peripheral numbers were even better than that. He struck out 40 batters in 31.1 innings and allowed only 4 walks.
Martin had some tough luck, as opposing hitters batted .393 against him on balls in play. His expected ERA was 3.25 and he tallied 6 holds.
Thursday marked his final appearance as a Cub, when he escaped a pair of jams to keep the game close for his team. He got the final out of the 7th inning against the Giants and then after allowing back-to-back hits to open the 8th, struck out the next 3 batters.