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What Are The Cubs Getting in Utility Man Zach McKinstry?

McKinstry brings a contact bat and has several years of team control left. He’s an interesting trade return for Chris Martin.

Zach McKinstry Chicago Cubs Trade
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, the Chicago Cubs began their anticipated 2022 sell-off by trading veteran RHP reliever Chris Martin to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In return, the Dodgers sent 27-year-old utility man Zach McKinstry to Chicago.

Zach McKinstry: Contact Bat, Team Control, Utility Piece

McKinstry is not the type of player I was expecting here, but I’m not upset. He’s a 2016 33rd-round pick who really started to find success with his left-handed bat in the minors in 2018. In 2019, he hit a hilariously efficient .382/.421/.753 when he was promoted to Triple-A. As such, when 2020 came, McKinstry actually had his cup of coffee in the majors for four games.

Then, in 2021, McKinstry found a spot as one of those guys who floats back and forth between Triple-A and the majors. In 172 plate appearances with the Dodgers in the MLB, McKinstry slashed .215/.263/.405, collecting seven home runs and 29 RBIs.

Primarily spent at Triple-A Oklahoma City, the 2022 campaign has been a mixed bag for McKinstry. He’s hitting .335/.417/.487 with 27 walks compared to 33 strikeouts. He falls solidly into the “mashes in the minors but struggles in the majors” category thus far, but the Cubs probably think there is something they can unlock for McKinstry with more playing time. His splits vs. lefties and righties last season are interesting and indicate something may be there. McKinstry actually hit for a better average against southpaws (.224 vs. .211) but swatted six of his seven HR vs. right-handers.

Keep in mind: there are rumors that the Chicago Cubs will trade Ian Happ, Rafael Ortega, Patrick Wisdom, and more. There will be a need to fill the holes that are likely to pop up after the trade deadline. For a non-contending team, figuring out what they may have in Zach McKinstry as a return for half a season of a 36-year-old reliever is a really solid move for the Cubs. We’ll see how it plays out.

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Bulls and Cubs Writer for OnTapSportsNet. Author of Extraordinary Girl, available on Amazon and at other select retailers.

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