CLEVELAND -- The Indians added some pitching depth on Tuesday, acquiring right-hander Joe Martinez from the Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The addition of Martinez brings Cleveland's 40-man roster to capacity. The Indians are still awaiting approval from Major League Baseball for the Dec. 20 free-agent signing of outfielder Austin Kearns. When Kearns is officially added to the roster, the Tribe will need to make another move to clear a spot.
Martinez, who was designated for assignment by Pittsburgh on Dec. 22 to make room for free agent Kevin Correia, split last season between Triple-A and the Majors with both the Pirates and Giants. The 27-year-old righty was acquired by Pittsburgh on July 31 in exchange for lefty Javier Lopez.
In nine games (one start) in the big leagues in 2010, Martinez posted a 4.12 ERA with nine strikeouts and nine walks over 19 2/3 innings combined with Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Over 21 games combined between Triple-A Fresno (Giants) and Triple-A Indianapolis (Pirates), he went 6-5 with a 3.94 ERA.
Martinez has experience as both a starter and reliever, but the Indians believe his best opportunity exists in the bullpen. Barring injury, it looks as though Cleveland will have two jobs in the bullpen up for grabs this spring with a wide mix of pitchers in the running for the roles.
Behind closer Chris Perez, relievers Jensen Lewis, Joe Smith, Tony Sipp and Rafael Perez are seemingly in line for jobs out of the bullpen. The way things currently stand, that leaves Aaron Laffey, Frank Herrmann, Justin Germano, Vinnie Pestano, Josh Judy and Martinez, among others, vying for two available jobs.
If Martinez does not capture a job in the bullpen, he could help provide depth both behind the Major League relief corps and rotation. Cleveland's current rotation projects to be both young and relatively inexperienced at the back end, making organizational depth important for the upcoming season.