Who is Chris Martin? He sounds like a computer generated character from MLB: The Show. He’s actually a relief pitcher who struggled at the Major League level, but found himself in Japan. He’s likely to return to the US for the 2018 season, and he may fit the Milwaukee Brewers offseason plans.
Chris Martin had two nondescript cups of coffee at the Major League level before getting released in 2015. He signed on with the Nippon Ham Fighters of the NPB and dominated. In two seasons in Japan, Martin posted a 1.12 ERA in 92 relief appearances. He struck out 91 and only walked 13 in 88 1/3 innings of work.
Why would Chris Martin fit in with the Brewers?
The Milwaukee Brewers need a bridge to get to closer Corey Knebel. Anthony Swarzak is a free agent and there’s no guarantee he’ll return. Josh Hader could end up in the starting rotation. There are other options, but the Brewers need to find cost effective options to fill out their bullpen. While Martin was fantastic in Japan, he’s not going to command major dollars to sign in the US. He’s also a teammate of superstar Shohei Otani, and Major League scouts have likely seen what he has to offer. If his stuff projects to the Major League level, Martin is sure to draw interest.
Is there anything else I need to know about Martin?
Only that he was playing slo-pitch softball and working out in a warehouse after his career was derailed by a shoulder injury in his early 20s. Martin decided to give pitching a try again, discovered his shoulder was healthier than he thought. He worked his way from the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the independent American Association all the way to Japan. He also stands 6’8″ and recently weighed in at 215 lbs.
To say Martin has a unique story and a unique body type is an understatement.
Given the Milwaukee Brewers payroll constraints and their need for additional arms in the bullpen, Martin appears to be a fit, at least as a low-risk/high-reward option. Players like Shohei Otani and Miles Mikolas will receive the majority of the headlines, but an under-the-radar signing like Martin could add depth to a bullpen that needs it.