What Zach McKinstry brings to Cubs after trade from Dodgers

Managers David Ross and Dave Roberts spoke Saturday morning after the Cubs and Dodgers came together for a pre-trade deadline deal.

The Cubs sent reliever Chris Martin to Los Angeles, who in return sent Zach McKinstry.

In Martin, Los Angeles is getting a veteran arm with championship experience after winning the 2021 World Series with Atlanta.

But what are the Cubs getting in McKinstry?

“It’s another flexible piece,” Ross said.

One thing that stands out immediately about McKinstry is his versatility. He can play left and right field, second and third base, and shortstop.

A 2016 33rd-round pick, McKinstry — who debuted in 2020 — got off to a hot start last season before a right oblique strain landed him on the injured list. Before that, he hit .296/.328/.556 in 17 games in April.

He finished 2021 with a .215/.263/.405 slash line in 60 games and only received 14 plate appearances in 10 games with the Dodgers this season.

He’s had a strong 2022 in Triple-A, batting .335/.417/.487 in 48 games.

With the Cubs, McKinstry has an opportunity at more frequent playing time. They can deploy him all around the diamond and use him in specific matchups as a lefty bat, not unlike David Bote’s role as a right-handed bat.

The only lefties on the Cubs active roster are Alfonso Rivas and Rafael Ortega, and switch-hitter Ian Happ — a subject of trade rumors who could be dealt in the coming days.

“We’re short left-handers, especially off the bench,” Ross said. “There’s some matchups where we haven’t been able to maximize the splits of the opposing pitcher. 

 

“[McKinstry will] give us another multi-faceted player that’s got a skill set in a lot of different spots.”

McKinstry isn’t arbitration eligible until 2025 and is under club control through 2027. As the Cubs look to build their next contending team, he has an opportunity to carve out a consistent role as a versatile depth option.

“Looking at his numbers and how he’s been used in the past,” Ross said, “[he has a] high baseball IQ from everything I’ve heard, versatile. 

“We’ll see. Give him a chance to come here and get some at-bats and we’ll see how it plays out.”

Contributing from San Francisco: Gordon Wittenmyer

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