Mariners trade veteran OF Martin to Cubs

Mariners trade veteran OF Martin to Cubs

SEATTLE -- Leonys Martin, an excellent defensive outfielder who struggled at the plate this season for the Mariners, was traded to the Cubs on Thursday for a player to be named or cash.

Martin opened the year as Seattle's starting center fielder, and was a popular and energetic presence in the Mariners' clubhouse, but spent much of the year with Triple-A Tacoma and hit just .174/.221/.287 in 34 games in the Majors.

Martin fared a little better at the plate in a recent stint when he was recalled on July 30, batting .230/.266/.426 in 19 games, but he was designated for assignment again on Aug. 23 after Mitch Haniger returned from the disabled list.

Martin is out of options, so he had to clear waivers and be outrighted to Tacoma when he was sent down, and he wasn't on the Mariners' 40-man roster. That meant the Mariners would have had to clear a spot if they wanted to call him up in September.

The Cubs didn't add Martin to their 40-man roster, but because he's in the organization prior to Sept. 1, he will be eligible to play for them in the playoffs.

The 29-year-old hit .247 with 15 home runs, 47 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 143 games in 2016 as the Mariners' starting center fielder, but lost that role this year to Jarrod Dyson after his tough April. Martin didn't have much of a role with a Mariners club that has brought in young outfielders Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia and Haniger in the past year.

Martin hit .307 with 11 homers, 39 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 87 games for Triple-A Tacoma this year.

Martin was acquired by the Mariners, along with right-hander Anthony Bass, from Texas in exchange for right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, outfielder James Jones and infielder Patrick Kivlehan in November 2015.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.