Cubs, Rays Agree to Deal for Martinez
The Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays agreed on a 2020 trade deadline deal yesterday afternoon which saw DH Jose Martinez get dealt to Chicago for 2 players to be named later.
Martinez did not even get to spend a full season in sunny Florida before he was dealt right back to the NL Central division. This past January, the Rays agreed to terms with the St. Louis Cardinals to acquire the first baseman in exchange for outfielder Randy Arozarena and left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore. Martinez has appeared in twenty-four of Tampa Bay’s thirty-five games this season, and is currently hitting .239 with an OBP of .329.
Martinez provides the Cubs with a great bat and plenty of team control. Martinez is not set to hit free agency until the conclusion of the 2022 season. It is worth pointing out, that I firmly believe Martinez was acquired to fill this season’s DH slot, but Martinez’s primary positions are OF and 1B. Many Cubs fans are aware that current first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, IS a free agent at the end of next season, and there has been a lack of interest in this Chicago front office in discussing extensions with its current core. Again, I’m not saying Martinez was acquired to eventually replace Rizzo, but the option for Theo Epstein and Co. is there.
As far as how Martinez helps this year’s Cubs team, he is another right-handed bat that can provide depth on the bench and is familiar with the ballparks the Cubs will be playing in this season. Looking at Chicago’s DH options before this trade, David Ross really only had Jason Kipnis and David Bote to work with, considering Kyle Schwarber continues to see most of his time in left field. If I’m Ross, I would continue to utilize Kip in the DH role when facing righties, but Martinez will fill in nicely in place of Bote in the DH role. Martinez is hitting better than Bote, and is getting on base more frequently; ultimately he is the ideal DH to face lefties moving forward. Bote should be continue to be utilized in the utility man role for this Cubs team.