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why-cristhian-martinez | May | 2010 Articles

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Why Cristhian Martinez?

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Cristhian Martinez was called up from Gwinnett yesterday, and Craig Kimbrel was sent down...does this make sense to anyone? I'm going to attempt to rationalize things here. The official reasoning behind Kimbrel's demotion was the desire to get him some regular work. This makes sense, since he had only pitched in 4 games in Atlanta since his promotion. But why in the name of god would you call up Martinez, who has an ERA over 5.00 for Gwinnett? There are a few reasons that make sense in my mind. -Martinez is "stretched out". This is apparently a huge deal for Bobby...he wants guys in his bullpen that can eat innings if the need arises. But here's the thing: the Braves don't need another long reliever. That role is filled more than capably by Jesse Chavez (shudder) and Jonny Venters, who performed admirably in relief on Tommy Hanson after he was shelled on Thursday against the Reds. I guess the logic that could be used in this situation is that Chavez and Venters could have use in shorter outings and could have at least a little bit of value. But if thats the reasoning, why not, aside from a fan revolt, call up Jojo Reyes? He's got sizable major league experienced, and his arm is stretched out...and its not like you'd ever use him in a higher leverage situation. I'll probably get lynched for even mentioning his name on here, but I don't really care. What about...gulp...Chris Resop? He's been great for Gwinnett, and his arm is stretched out too. Maybe they're using the fan revolt logic on him too, since I was afraid fans would pull a Tom Gamboa on him during his last tenure in Atlanta. -Martinez has fantastic control. This was a huge sticking point for Kimbrel. He walked more than he struck out in his tenure with the big club. Martinez on the other hand, has a 22:4 K:BB ratio. In a word, thats phenomenal. Martinez won't walk the bases loaded, and is able to get the big strikeout when he needs to. In 14 May innings, he's walked only 1 for Gwinnett, while striking out 13. That's more than solid. -Major league experience. Martinez threw 26 1/3 innings for the Marlins last year, and was...about what you'd expect. 18:8 K:BB in that span, with 2 homers allowed and a 5.13 ERA. I'd say thats about replacement level, or maybe a little worse. With the Marlins coming up on the schedule at the beginning of next week, maybe the Braves can figure Martinez can give them a little insight...not that the Braves really need it, considering they see the Marlins 19 times a year.  This will be the first meeting of the teams this year, though. So whats my overall conclusion? Necessity. Martinez has no long-term future with the organization, and is just a warm body. The team wants to give Kimbrel regular work in order to get him to take over the closer's spot in 2011, and they don't want to have someone be sitting in the major league bullpen doing nothing that could contribute in the future, like Resop or Reyes possibly could. Don't expect to see a lot of Martinez in Atlanta...I'd expect to see him become the sacrificial lamb once Jair Jurrjens is ready to come off the DL...but if thats going to be awhile, I could see one of the guys I mentioned down in Gwinnett to get his roster spot.
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