Cubs Release Joe Martarano

The Cubs have released 2014 22nd round draft pick 1B .

Now 23, Martarano played baseball part-time in the Cubs organization in 2014-15 while attending Boise State and playing D-1 FBS football during the school year, but decided to concentrate exclusively on school and football in 2016. But then he suffered a season-ending injury (broken leg) in a game versus UNLV in November 2016, and decided this time last year to give up his dream of playing in the NFL and to play baseball full-time. 

The 6'4 240+ Martarano was a two-way star football player (QB-LB) at Fruitland HS (Idaho), earning Gatorade Idaho Player of the Year and Idaho 3-A State Player of the Year honors in 2012 while also being named an Honorable Mention Parade All-American and signing an NLI with Boise State. And (BTW) he was also a third-baseman on the Fruitland baseball team, and was rated one of the top 150 players in the nation by Baseball America going into the 2013 draft. 

So Martarano was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 13th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, but (as expected) did not sign, turning down a $100K bonus offer from the Phils while opting instead to attend Boise State and play football. (Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen refused to allow Martarano to play football at BSU if he signed with the Phillies).   

Because Boise State did not have a baseball team at the time (they do now, however, with ex-Cubs minor league manager Gary Van Tol as the Head Coach), Martarano was once again eligible for selection (as the rare draft-eligible freshman) in the 2014 draft (normally a player attending a four-year college is not eligible for selection in the MLB First-Year Player Draft until after his junior year or when he turns 21, whichever comes first), and the Cubs selected him in the 22nd round and signed him a month later, even though Martarano hadn't played baseball in more than a year and appeared to be fully-committed to playing college football.

The deal was possible only because the Cubs and new Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin (Chris Petersen's successor) agreed to let Martarano play football at Boise State (with football being his #1 priority), with the opportunity to play pro baseball in the summer if he was so inclined, and defer his decision about which sport to pursue professionally until he completed his college career.  

Because he was a two-sport player, Martarano's signing bonus (by rule) could be spread over several seasons (either three, four, or five), and in Martarano's case, it was spread over four years (2014-2017). However, he remained under club control through the 2020 season (or longer if he had been added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point), giving him at least four seasons to metriculate in the art & science of baseball and (hopefully) advance upward through the Cubs system.     

The baseball development time he missed while concentrating on school and football put him in a "catch-up" position at Extended Spring Training last year, but he hit an impressive 324/448/500 in 26 Cactus League EXST games (87 PA) and led the team in HBP, and then followed that up by hitting 340/433/440 in 15 games at SS-A Eugene. That earned him a promotion to Lo-A South Bend in July, but he struggled at that level (hitting just 208/263/292 in 32 games) and never got going. Things didn't go any better at Minor League Camp this year, and so he was left behind at Extended Spring Training when the South Bend Cubs left town on April 2nd. 

Whether Martarano will pursue his baseball career elsewhere (with another MLB organization or maybe in an independent league) or go back to college and play football again (he has one year of college football eligibilty remaining if he decides to return to school) remains to be seen. 


Looks like Joe made a bad choice.

Ex-Cub minor league INF-OF Joey Martarano will be playing college football this fall at the College of Idaho (an NAIA school). 

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Cubster 49 min 48 sec ago (view)

    btw, gotta love the banner photo showing white cleats with Wrigley mud stuck to them. Great choice (and very 3D).


  • Hagsag 4 hours 33 min ago (view)

    Cant picture not having AZ Phil as a infomation source.


  • Mike Wellman 16 hours 24 min ago (view)

    On top of what everyone else sez, TCR is my passport to the I-Cubs every year. Plz keep up the good work!


  • First.Pitch.120 21 hours 39 min ago (view)

    I echo what everyone else has said. I am in no way an expert (or even novice) at the nuts & bolts of website construction; however, I have dabbled in some website maintenance for various entities. If there is a need for another set of hands, I would be willing to see if I could help ( or at least pull a Jonathan Herrera & cheer from the bench with an awesome helmet).


  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    This site is great! It's pretty much the only Cubs site I visit daily, other than a Google search for Cubs news. 90% of the information I get on Cubs prospects is from here. Commenters are usually very respectful and it seems that most are well-informed or want to be. I'm hoping the site can continue. Thanks to everyone who contributes to its content! :)


  • George Altman 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    I'd like to add, without meaning to take a superior attitude, that ALL the content and commentators on TCR are a step above every other Cubs Blog I've seen. I'm better informed, better briefed about not only what's happening but what's likely to happen.

    You all have made me a better Cubs fan. Whatever happens,  thank you. 


  • Charlie 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    I will be happy to continue to do gameday posts for another season and would like to keep the site active. Thanks for your labor!

    Sorry for all the delayed and abbreviated posts at season's end, by the way.


  • fullykräusened 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Like the other posters, I don't post often, but have enjoyed Arizona Phil and crunch (who was right about Jason Heyward :) ). I am grateful for all the work that has gone into maintaining the site, and whatever you want to do to make it work is okay with me!


  • Cubster 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    Chiming in that TCR is still a major part of my daily Cub routine and has always been my browser homepage. The site contains much love for AZ Phil and his subtle sense of humor as the war correspondent for the Arizona Scoring Service. 

    "Just because it isn't official doesn't mean it didn't happen"


  • Hagsag 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Thank you forTCR, and it is the first site I check daily. Please keep it going.


  • Karl Pagel Blues 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    Thank you for this site. It's the first one I turn to every single day. There may be other sites with more daily content, but there's only one TCR. Again, a big thank you to everyone actively contributing here!


  • crunch 2 days 11 hours ago (view)

    no matter the future, i've learned a whole lot being here and i'm still learning.  phil's post earlier with the end-season instructs stats is a great example of this.  lots of love for the team, the farm system, and the game here.

    also, it looks like dusty's crew is 3 outs away from going to the WS with 5 runs to cushion.


  • George Altman 2 days 13 hours ago (view)

    Please keep it going if at all possible. No other Cubs website compares. I've spent 15 years with AZ Phil, Crunch, Cubster. Don't want to see that end.


  • Alexander Dimm 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    Like the others, I don't post often, and it's not the only Cubs baseball site I read.  However, it is the first site I read each day and if I only read one, this is it.  I hope you can hang in there.  

    Cubs baseball will be a little less fun without TCR.


  • Childersb3 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    I've been reading, commenting and asking questions here for over a decade now. Cubdom wouldn't be whole without TCR.

    Hope it stays in any form possible. 

    Whatever is most manageable, cheapest, time efficient manner you.


  • bradsbeard 2 days 16 hours ago (view)

    Absolutely want to see if stay if possible.