Cubs Acquire Felix Doubront and Jonathan Martinez

In News And Rumors by GW

The Cubs have been surprisingly active today, completing the Darwin Barney trade with the Dodgers, acquiring Felix Doubront from the Red Sox, and reportedly nearing a deal that would ship Emilio Bonifacio to… well, somewhere.

Jonathan Martinez

Martinez is a 20 year-old righty out of Venezuela who has now been named as the Barney return. In 2011 and 2012, he performed well enough in the Dominican Summer League and Rookie Ball, respectively, that the Dodgers sent him to the Midwest League to start 2013. The prospect mavens mostly ignored him, though did place him at #15 in the organization, and had this to say:

He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he has the makings of a good three-pitch mix that allowed him to strike out a batter per inning during his stateside debut. His fastball projects to be above-average and he could have two Major League average offerings in his slider and changeup. He’s generally around the strike zone and didn’t hurt himself with walks in his first step up the long organizational ladder.

He scuffled somewhat in a relief role in the MWL, and was sent back to the Pioneer League before returning to the Great Lakes Loons to finish out the season as a starter. Martinez is repeating that level in 2014, and the results have been somewhat better. He has struck out 21% of hitters while walking less than 5%.

His control seems to be his strong suit; his career walk rate is 5.5%. He leans towards being a fly-ball pitcher; his career groundball rate sits at 38.3%. Prior to the start of 2014, Great Lakes pitching coach Bill Simas described him thusly:

He pitches with his fastball a lot,” Loons pitching coach Bill Simas said. “He has a 2-seem (sic) running fastball that he pitches a lot. He will throw a changeup and mix a slider in there. He does know how to change speeds, and he’s better at it now.”

This seems like a depth pickup for the Cubs, who could be useful if he maintains good control while moving up the ladder.

Felix Doubront

In a surprise move, the Cubs also picked up Felix Doubront from the Red Sox for a player to be named later that may end up being a Rule 5 pick. Doubront is a lefty who at one point looked promising, but has recently fallen on difficult times. In 2012 and 2013 combined, he made 56 starts for the team, posting a 4.59 ERA over 323 innings pitched. He has always struggled with control (10.1% career walk rate), but seemed like a decent bet to improve were he to move out of the meat-grinding AL East.

Instead, 2014 has been abysmal. His velocity has dropped, and his strikeout rate along with it. A move to the bullpen in late June doesn’t seem to have helped, and his ERA for the season is over six. The 26 year-old requested a trade earlier in the week, and that request has been granted.

Doubront won’t hit free agency until after 2017, so the Cubs will have their chance to fix him. For the (apparent) price, he seems like a decent flier.


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