Cubs agree to one-year deal with reliever Chris Martin

President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer had said Monday that pitching was the front office’s “biggest focus.”

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Right-hander Chris Martin served as a late-inning reliever on the Braves’ path to the 2021 World Series title.

Right-hander Chris Martin served as a late-inning reliever on the Braves’ path to the 2021 World Series title. File photo.

Logan Riely/Getty Images

MESA, Ariz. — Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer promised additions in the coming days. On Tuesday, the team secured another much-needed bullpen arm.

Free-agent right-hander Chris Martin agreed to a one-year deal with the Cubs for $2.5 million plus incentives, a Sun-Times source confirmed. When the deal becomes official, Martin will become the second reliever the Cubs have added from the Braves’ 2021 World Series title team since the lockout ended.

Martin, 35, joins right-hander Jesse Chavez, whom the Cubs signed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Martin posted a 3.95 ERA in 46 outings last season. The Braves used him primarily as a late-inning reliever.

‘‘Our biggest focus, candidly, has been pitching and pitching depth,’’ Hoyer said Monday.

Happ’s injury not new

Outfielder Ian Happ, who in February underwent a procedure to clean up loose bodies in his right elbow, said the injury has been a nagging issue since 2019.

‘‘But it’s something that I was always able to play through,’’ he said. ‘‘And then it got to a point this offseason where it needed to be fixed.’’

Happ usually had felt the discomfort on his swing and had been able to recover with offseason rest. But that wasn’t the case this winter.

Happ is going through a throwing progression and is confident he’ll be ready for Opening Day. Manager David Ross agreed with that timeline and said he could use the designated-hitter spot to ease some of Happ’s workload.

‘‘If there’s one thing I know about Happ, I’m going to have to slow him down,’’ Ross said Monday. ‘‘He wants to push the envelope. He’s smart. He’s a veteran. He’s been around a little bit, knows his body.’’

It’s Mills time

The Cubs are planning for right-hander Alec Mills to be in the starting rotation, Ross said. 

‘‘And if something changes, we’ll adjust from there,’’ he said. ‘‘But I think he’s proven he deserves a shot at being in the rotation, for sure.’’

Mills claimed a starting role in the shortened 2020 season, even tossing a no-hitter against the Brewers, but he was back in a swingman role at the start of last season. He ended up starting 20 games.

With Mills penciled into a starting role and right-hander Adbert Alzolay out with a strained lat, one rotation spot is up for grabs, barring the acquisition of another starter.

‘‘We’ve got a lot of open roster spots,’’ Ross said. ‘‘I’m not ready to lock in the rotation for you guys quite yet.’’

Spring cleaning

The National League Central rival Reds have been active on the trade market this week, sending their star players far and wide. In the span of two days, they traded right-hander Sonny Gray, outfielder Jesse Winker and third baseman Eugenio Suarez.

One reporter jokingly asked new Cubs left-hander Wade Miley, who played for the Reds the last two seasons, whether he knows anyone over there anymore.

‘‘There’s a few over there, still,’’ Miley said, laughing. ‘‘They’re cleaning house a little bit, but I’m sure they have a plan in store. . . . [General manager] Nick [Krall] is going to do a good job getting that thing going right.’’

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