Dodgers get cheap veteran bullpen help in trade with Cubs

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 08: Chris Martin #58 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 08: Chris Martin #58 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /
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While the Los Angeles Dodgers are keeping themselves firmly involved in the Juan Soto and Shohei Ohtani trade sweepstakes, the front office may need to look at more realistic trade options to keep this squad competitive in October. Improving the bullpen is a manageable task that can be done without giving up top prospects.

Craig Kimbrel doesn’t appear to be anything close to the dominant force we saw earlier in his career, so Andrew Friedman made it a priority to acquire veteran arms that can help Los Angeles put away some of the competition in the postseason. Chris Martin would seem to fit the bill.

Trapped on a Chicago Cubs team that is going nowhere fast, Martin figured to be one of the most likely players who could be on the move in exchange for a young prospect or fringe major league player. The Cubs haven’t started their fire sale yet, but Martin is packing his bags.

The Dodgers acquired Martin in exchange for outfielder Zach McKinstry. As a result of this deal, the Cubs are going to get a 27-year-old outfielder who will finally receive consistent playing time, and the Dodgers will end up getting a proven postseason reliever with championship experience.

The Los Angeles Dodgers traded for Chris Martin.

After struggling to catch on with the Rockies and Yankees, Martin parlayed a successful stint in Japan into a deal with the Rangers. Martin is perhaps best known for a tour with the Atlanta Braves in which he put up a 3.30 ERA and won a championship in 2021 at age 35.

Martin has a 4.31 ERA for the Cubs this season, but that number can be a bit misleading. That ERA is down an entire run from June 17 onwards, which shows that he put his slow start in the past and is performing at the same clip we saw in Atlanta. With mid 90s heat and a hard cutter, Martin’s stuff can impress.

McKinstry has hit .210 with eight home runs in 74 games with the Dodgers. Per 162 games, he is averaging 22 doubles and 18 jacks. Going to a hitter-friendly ballpark like Wrigley Field might help him finally have the breakout stretch he needs to stick around in the majors.

Martin is not going to replace Kimbrel or make the Dodgers the most feared bullpen in the league, but he’s a rock-solid right-hander that can be trusted to get postseason outs. With McKinstry not factoring into LA’s plans in either the short or long-term, the Martin deal makes sense.

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