Cubs acquire José Martínez in trade with Rays

Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
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CINCINNATI — The Chicago Cubs acquired Jose Martinez in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, giving manager David Ross another option at designated hitter.

The 32-year-old Martinez is a .294 hitter with 43 homers and 182 RBIs in 422 major league games. He debuted with St. Louis in 2016 and spent four years with the Cardinals before he was traded to the Rays in January.

“It’s a nice boost to get an offensive piece that makes you deeper than you already are,” Ross said after Chicago’s 10-1 win at Cincinnati. “It’s nice to be able to mix-and-match some bench pieces as well. It’s always nice to get a good player at the trade deadline.”

It’s a rare deal between division leaders ahead of Monday’s trade deadline for the pandemic-shortened season. Tampa Bay is on top of the AL East, and Chicago is trying to hold on in the NL Central.

The Rays acquired two players to be named or cash considerations in the trade. The team also promoted outfielder Randy Arozarena from its alternate training site.

Martinez, who can play first base or the outfield, batted .239 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 24 games with Tampa Bay. He had his best season with St. Louis in 2018, hitting .305 with 17 homers and 83 RBIs in 152 games.

“He’s hit his entire career,” Ross said. “We have a DH spot that makes sense for him. He hits lefties, and that will be a big help for us, but he can hit righties as well. When you see him come to the plate, you know he’s a tough out. When you see him on TV, you know he’s going to get a big hit.”

The Cubs designated catcher Josh Phegley for assignment to make room for Martinez on their roster.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.