SAN FRANCISCO – The Chicago Cubs roster is in the process of renewing once again.
They made their first move into Saturday’s trading deadline, kicking off the sell-off by sending right-hander Chris Martin to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In return, they got 27-year-old player/defender Zach McKinstry.
Manager David Ross anticipates hitting McKinstry to join the Cubs in the coming days. It would take a move of 26 players to open a player position, although a trade in the meantime, especially if it involved an outside player, could solve that.
Ross received an exploratory report on McKinstry from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts during a Saturday morning chat. McKinstry can play in the outside spots in the corner and sneak out.
“It’s another flexible piece,” Ross said before the Cubs face the San Francisco Giants on Saturday at Oracle Park. “There are some matches where we haven’t been able to increase the opposing bowler’s splits. This will give us another multi-faceted player who has skill in many different positions.
“Give him a chance to come here and get some hits, and we’ll see how you play.”
The Cubs called up Mark Leiter, Jr., right-hander to replace Martin. Right-handed Michael Rucker also joined the team in San Francisco in the Taxi Squad.
Trading Martin starts a busy stretch for the Cubs through Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline. Ross wasn’t too upset on Saturday as the Cubs’ business officially began.
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“If something comes close and I have to take someone out – you know how it all goes – but I’m really on the mindset every day and trying to compete and win ball games. There’s enough for me to worry about, and we’re trying to improve my coaching staff every day, so I try to stay focused on that.
“It is rare for me to get rid of any kind of thoughts of winning a ball game. I think the only time on my mind is to check the phone before or after the match.”
After capturing the world title in Atlanta last season, Martin brought the experience and success the Cubs wanted for the Bulls.
Martin was an important part of a relief group that included a mix of small arms and veterans. Martin has been a reliable loyalist for the past five seasons, and has cemented himself as a late pick for Ross. Bullpen Cubs were expected to be tested again by the trade deadline after trading three levers last season.
McKinstry has played mostly in Triple A this season, coming in at .355/.417/.487 with .904 OPS over 223 games in 48 games. McKinstry made just 10 appearances for the Dodgers in 2022, going 1 for 11 with three walks and four strokes.
Martin, 36, had a 4.31 ERA and 98 ERA+ in 34 appearances. He’s been squabbling for the past three weeks, allowing five runs and 10 strikes in five runs over five games, until he stepped up in Thursday’s loss to the Giants to keep the match close.
“We got a really good award, and it was a big part of that,” Ross said. “Glad he got to move on and keep chasing another championship. His time here was good.”