Cubs sign Chris Martin

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The Cubs agree on right-handers Chris Martin on a one-year deal, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. The deal includes a $2.5 million guarantee, $500,000 in performance bonuses and a $250,000 roster bonus. (Twitter connections)

Martin, 36 in June, certainly didn’t have a textbook path to the Oberliga. For the incredible full story, see this 2019 article by Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In short, Martin thought his baseball career ended with shoulder surgery in 2006. Years later, while working at Lowe’s and UPS, playing tag with a friend, he realized his shoulder was no longer in pain and got Martin back on his ballpark.

After getting back on the mound in Indy ball, he signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox in 2013. After being traded to the Rockies, Martin made his MLB debut in 2014 just weeks before his 28th birthday. He didn’t particularly impress with the Rockies that year or the Yankees in 2015, but made a move to Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League and shone in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

In 2018 he returned to North America and signed a two-year contract with Rangers. After a decent first year in Texas, 2019 was a huge breakthrough for him as he ran 55 2/3 innings with a 3.40 ERA, a 30.1% strikeout rate and a walk rate of just 2.3%. threw.

The Braves, who acquired Martin from Rangers midway through this season, signed Martin to a two-year, $14 million contract ahead of the 2020 season. He essentially maintained his strikeout and walk rates this year at 30.3% and 4.5%, respectively, but his ERA dropped to as low as 1.00 in the small 18-inning sample.

However, 2021 did not go well for Martin as some injuries seemed to limit his ability to perform. In 43 1/3 innings, he still kept his walk rate incredibly low at 3.3%, but his strikeout rate dropped to as low as 18.2%. Despite this, he managed to keep his ERA at a reasonable level of 3.95 throughout the year.

He did not crack the club’s roster for the NLDS but was added for the NLCS and eventually pitched 4 1/3 innings in the postseason, continuing to have success without racking up strikeouts. His ERA in this small sample was 2.08, with a 17.6% strikeout rate and not a single walk, which helped the club win the World Series.

For the Cubs, last year’s deadline big sell-off was involved Craig Kimbrell, Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin heading out of town. The bullpen was hit again recently when Codi Heuer underwent Tommy John surgery. That went Rowan Wick and Brad Wieck as the only projected members of the bullpen with more than one year of MLB service. With the recent additions of Jesse Chavez and now, Martin, they’ve reinforced their fledgling auxiliary corps with some veteran presence.

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