The Yankees almost certainly made it one of their New Year's resolutions to acquire as many relievers as possible. They pulled off another trade for a potential bullpen arm today, as according to YES Network's Jack Curry, they sent cash to the Rockies in exchange for righthanded reliever Chris Martin. To make room on the roster, they DFA'd the recently-acquired former Mets reliever Gonzalez Germen. (Can't wait for the Yankeeography.) The 6'8" Martin will have minor league options, so he is by no means tied to a definite spot in the 2015 bullpen, though he's certainly in the mix.
Martin is a 28-year-old who was originally signed by the Red Sox, and he pitched in their organization from 2010 through 2013, when he was traded to Colorado in the off-season deal that sent infielder Jonathan Herrera to Boston. He certainly wasn't yellow on the mound for Triple-A Colorado Springs last year, as he struck out 36 batters in 26 2/3 innings, an impressive rate of 12.2 K/9. Overall, he had a 4.39 ERA and 3.21 FIP there, recording nice peripheral stats of a 3.0 BB/9, and a 0.7 HR/9. However, the rookie did not find paradise during his short stint in the majors on the mound while the violet hills of his Rockies jersey billowed in the breeze. He rode the shuttle between Colorado and Colorado Springs from mid-April through mid-June, pitching to a 6.89 ERA and allowing a pair of homers in just 15 2/3 innings for the Rockies. He just wasn't in his place.
However, the shaky numbers are somewhat deceiving. Martin's FIP was a much-lower 3.77, he had an 8.0 K/9 and a 2.3 BB/9, and most noticeably, his BABIP against was a monstrous .408. Even in Triple-A in 2014, his BABIP was .431. That's an absurdly high number, and the fact that his line-drive percentage of 19.6% was a little better than the league average of 20.8% is worth talking about as well. Furthermore, during his MLB cameo, he had a fine ground-ball percentage of 60.3%, something that this year should help with the Yankees' much more defensively adept infield. Even though that number was a little inflated by small sample size, his 44.6% ground ball rate in Triple-A was solid, too.
Martin doesn't quite throw the speed of sound, but his reported 95 mph fastball is nothing to dismiss. He also has a slider and cutter in his repertoire. That's not to say he's the scientist of pitching, but he definitely has a few options out there. As the clocks pass the time in 2015, Martin will likely have a better season, as the BABIP Luck Dragons should allow him to lower his ERA both in the majors and Triple-A. Considering that the Yankees got him for just cash, it's hard to really dislike the move. Don't panic. If he works out, then it would be like life in technicolor, and if not, then he'll just be another arm to take up some innings under the sky full of stars in Scranton.
Just viva la vida, Martin.