Chicago Cubs Sign Very Tall, Hard-Throwing Reliever Chris Martin

Just do it. Get them out of your system now. Everything you ever wanted to quip about Coldplay, now is the time.

OK. We good? Baseball time?

The long-awaited more-sure-fire relief addition has arrived for the Cubs, and it’s former Braves reliever Chris Martin signing a one-year deal with the Cubs, per Jon Morosi. It’s for $2.5 million, with some performance bonuses build in. I would’ve expected him to get more, actually.

Martin, 35, is an absolutely enormous dude, towering at 6’8″, and having only finally established himself as a big league contributor after he was already into his 30s:

(via FanGraphs)

If you’re wondering about that gap there, Martin was one of the guys who left the States in his late-20s to go earn some money in Japan. While there, he dominated, truly got better, and was kind of a hot relief commodity when he came back to MLB. From there, as you can see, he’s generally been pretty darn good. The ERA from 2018-2021 is 22% better than league average by ERA-, the FIP is 26% better.

Martin is a hard-thrower, typically in the mid-90s, and does a good job staying off the barrel. He walks absolutely no one, but the strikeout rate is hard to figure – it was really meh in 2018 and 2021, and really WOWSA in 2019 and 2020. I’ll have to dig in more on what may have happened. A very quick and dirty look at Statcast suggests he switched his primary fastball in 2021 to his very low-spin four-seamer, which appears to have been a move to pitch toward contact off the barrel. His sinker the year before was more of a whiff pitch, but got hit hard at times.

(Oh, and the now obligatory quick check you have to do on any pitcher: no, his performance results didn’t change meaningfully in one direction or the other after mid-June last year …. )

Apparently the Cubs just want to recreate the Atlanta Braves championship-winning bullpen – or at least nab some of the lesser-known contributors – having already signed Jesse Chavez, and now Martin.

This is pretty standard fare for the Cubs of recent years, as far as bullpen moves go: target a guy who isn’t getting offers at a level that are commensurate with his talent, sign him on a good bargain, and then let him eat for the first few months of the season. If things are going well for the team, great. If things aren’t, he becomes a pretty attractive in-season trade piece.

More soon.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

more cubs news

The 2024 MLB Draft: Rounds One and Two

The 2024 MLB Draft kicks off tonight at 6pm CT with Rounds One and Two, as well as the compensatory and competitive balance picks. Rounds 3 through 10 of the draft come tomorrow, and rounds 11 through 20 on Tuesday....

Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 8, Cardinals 3 – July 14, 2024

As bad as yesterday was, the Cubs certainly bounced all the way back today to blow out the Cardinals on the strength of SIX HOME RUNS. It was also a stellar defensive game for the Cubs, with gems all over...

Everybody Dinging the Dongs Today! Happ and Morel Go Back-to-Back

The Cubs ALREADY had four homers in the game today when Ian Happ came to the plate in the 8th. Maybe he felt left out. Because he sent one. Then, Christopher Morel, having already homered once on the day, decided...

It’s a Cubs Homer Party: Pete (x2), Nido, and Morel!

I wasn't in a position to write up these homers early, and every minute I waited it seemed like another guy sent one deep. Or in one of their cases, sent another one deep. The Chicago Cubs hit four homers...

Chicago Cubs Lineup: Will They Recapture That Momentum?

CUBS LINEUP — The Cubs dropped both halves of their double-header yesterday, which means they need a win today to split the series and re-capture any of that momentum they had built up through Friday night. Here's a look at...

Bad Day for a Bad Double-Header, Amaya, Roberts, Futures Game, and Other Cubs Bullets

The 2024 MLB Draft kicks off tonight at 6pm CT, with the first two rounds. The Chicago Cubs pick at number 14 in the first round, and then again at 54 in the second round. More coverage coming later today,...

Enhanced Box Score: Cardinals 5, Cubs 4 – July 13, 2024

Bad, bad time to flub one away. Cubs really needed that game, and they had it. Until they didn't. Call this one a throwback, what with the small late lead getting blown by the bullpen, the offense having missed too...

Cubs Outfielders Snagging Extra Outs All Over the Place

We all know that Seiya Suzuki has made some high-profile mistakes in right field the last couple years, but he does still occasionally make the odd great play, too. For example, throwing out Matt Carpenter at home on this play:...

Royals Jump the Reliever Trade Market, Acquire Hunter Harvey from the Nationals

This is a pretty significant trade for the pre-Draft period, with the Royals acquiring Hunter Harvey from the Nationals for a Competitive Balance A pick (after the first round) and infield prospect Cayden Wallace. https://twitter.com/Royals/status/1812275939285291351 Wallace, 22, is a top-ten...

Miguel Amaya Homers As Part of a Four-Run, Two-Out Rally

Tonight's game might be a barnburner at this rate, so it's a good thing the Cubs really turned it on in the second inning with two outs. Miguel Amaya got things started with a two-run homer: https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/1812287912328802556 And Nico Hoerner...

Latest News

Topalova vs. Sorribes Tormo Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Monday, July 15

In the Round of 32 at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Monday, Sara Sorribes Tormo (ranked No. 55) meets Gergana Topalova (No. 233).Sorribes Tormo is getting -667 odds to beat Topalova (+425).Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian Grand PrixRound: Round...

Svajda vs. Paire Prediction at the Hall of Fame Open – Monday, July 15

Zachary Svajda (No. 119 ranking) will take on Benoit Paire (No. 160) in the Round of 32 of the Hall of Fame Open on Monday, July 15.Svajda is favored (-667) in this match, compared to the underdog Paire, who is...

Sramkova vs. Bulgaru Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Tuesday, July 16

In the Hungarian Grand Prix Round of 32 on Tuesday, No. 105-ranked Rebecca Sramkova meets No. 218 Miriam Bianca Bulgaru.Compared to the underdog Bulgaru (+225), Sramkova is the favorite (-303) to advance.Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian Grand PrixRound: Round...

Monnet vs. Toth Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Monday, July 15

In the Hungarian Grand Prix Round of 32 on Monday, we have a matchup featuring No. 388-ranked Amarissa Kiara Toth versus No. 202 Carole Monnet.Toth carries -155 odds to defeat Monnet (+120).Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian Grand PrixRound: Round...

Blanchet vs. Popyrin Prediction at the Hamburg European Open – Monday, July 15

Alexei Popyrin (No. 47) will face Ugo Blanchet (No. 162) in the Round of 32 at the Hamburg European Open on Monday, July 15.Popyrin is the favorite (-250) in this matchup, compared to the underdog Blanchet, who is +190.Hamburg European...

Timofeeva vs. Waltert Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Monday, July 15

In the Round of 32 at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Monday, Simona Waltert (ranked No. 229) takes on Maria Timofeeva (No. 102).Waltert is the favorite against Timofeeva, with -120 odds against the underdog's -110.Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian...

Makarova vs. Babos Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Tuesday, July 16

In the Round of 32 at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Tuesday, Ekaterina Makarova (ranked No. 177) meets Timea Babos (No. 255).Babos is favored over Makarova, with -350 odds against the underdog's +240.Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian Grand PrixRound:...

Droguet vs. Fognini Prediction at the Swiss Open Gstaad – Monday, July 15

In the Swiss Open Gstaad Round of 32 on Monday, No. 140-ranked Titouan Droguet meets No. 94 Fabio Fognini.Fognini is the favorite (-115) in this match, compared to the underdog Droguet, who is -110.Swiss Open Gstaad InfoTournament: The Swiss Open...

Thiem vs. Varillas Prediction at the Swiss Open Gstaad – Monday, July 15

In the Round of 32 at the Swiss Open Gstaad on Monday, Dominic Thiem (ranked No. 134) takes on Juan Pablo Varillas (No. 159).Varillas is the favorite (-145) in this matchup, compared to the underdog Thiem, who is +110.Swiss Open...

Everybody Dinging the Dongs Today! Happ and Morel Go Back-to-Back

The Cubs ALREADY had four homers in the game today when Ian Happ came to the plate in the 8th. Maybe he felt left out. Because he sent one. Then, Christopher Morel, having already homered once on the day, decided...

more cubs news