The Cubs have optioned recently acquired first baseman/outfielder/designated hitter Jose Martinez, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune was among those to report. The move cleared 28-man roster space for just-claimed outfielder Billy Hamilton.
It’s a bit of a surprise to see Martinez headed to the Cubs’ alternate training site so soon, as they landed him from the Rays in advance of the Aug. 31 trade deadline. But Martinez has gone without a hit in 15 plate appearances since then, continuing a season-long run of subpar production for a player who was largely a valuable part of the Cardinals’ offense from 2016-19. Martinez recorded a .298/.363/.458 line in 1,288 plate appearances with St. Louis, but he has mustered a far weaker .198/.286/.321 mark in 96 PA this year between Tampa and Chicago.
Martinez has lined up as a DH since the Cubs traded for him, but with other credible options there (including Victor Caratini, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras), they no longer felt the need to spend a roster spot on someone who has slumped throughout 2020. Hamilton won’t exactly give the team an offensive juggernaut, either, but the speedster is at least a high-grade defender and base runner.