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Chris Martin key part of a needed Red Sox bullpen makeover

Chris Martin joined the Dodgers at the trade deadline last season and became a key part to their drive to October.Ronald Martinez/Getty

The Red Sox announced the signing of reliever Chris Martin Thursday, the two sides agreeing to a two-year, $17.5 million contract.

The 36-year-old righthander had a 3.05 ERA split between the Cubs and Dodgers in 56 innings pitched. Martin became a key piece of the Dodgers’ bullpen in their run to the playoffs, with a 1.46 ERA in 24⅔ innings. Martin fills up the zone, walking just five batters all year for a 2.2 percent walk rate.

“My control is something that I take pride in,” Martin said during his introductory presser. “I try to work really hard and that’s just how I pitch. I just want to go out and compete and go right after guys. Once the ball leaves my hand, I can’t control what happens. So that’s kind of how I go about it mindset wise.”


Martin is no stranger to the Red Sox system. He signed with the club in 2011 after a year of independent ball, but was traded to the Rockies in 2013.

“There’s still a lot of familiar faces, not as many,” he said. “But it’s kind of nice coming into a place with some people that you’re familiar with. And the tradition of Fenway is amazing. It was a pretty easy decision for me.”

Martin and the Boston Red Sox finalized a $17.5 million, two-year contract on Thursday.Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Martin gives the Sox reliable depth at the back-end of the bullpen, allowing manager Alex Cora wiggle room to use Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock as starters.

Martin joins Joely Rodriguez and closer Kenley Jansen as additions to a bullpen that saw its share of struggles last year.

“Having that guy at the back end to close out a game just shortens the game that much more,” Martin said. “Obviously, bullpens are very important. I’ve been on some teams with some good ones. I think it’s gonna help me, being able to see guys like that, and just continue to learn and feed off of those guys.”


The Martin news came on a bittersweet day. Xander Bogaerts, who Martin knew from his days in the minors with the Sox, decided to sign with the San Diego Padres.

“Obviously, losing Xander, a player like that, is a big loss, but that was his decision to move on,” Martin said. “But the offseason isn’t over, there’s a lot of offseason left. I’m sure there’s gonna be some more additions that are going to help the team.”

For now, Martin represents one of the few Sox acquisitions this offseason who the team hopes can make an impact in 2023.

“I’ve learned a lot from a lot of guys along the way,” Martin said. “Just continue to keep throwing strikes, and the odds will be in my favor.”

Julian McWilliams can be reached at Follow him @byJulianMack.