So It Begins, The Hint Of Cardinals Future Extension Talks, Starter Carlos Martinez

By Beth Chapman
Oct. 05, 2016

Carlos Martinez, entering first year of arbitration in 2017.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2016 MLB playoffs just beginning, trades, free agency, extension contract discussion won't begin until after the World Series. One week after the MLB World Title series. At the latest, should the World Series go a full seven games, would be November 11, 2016 before the business of baseball begins to stir. And, as far as arbitration eligible players go, serious discussions will come closer to; and/or during, the respective 2017 Spring Training camps. 

Per an article by Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post Dispatch, yesterday, the St. Louis Cardinals and RHP Carlos Martinez are agreeable in future talks of an extension contract. The 25 year old Martinez will be in his first year of arbitration eligible in 2017, with free agency in 2020. An extension contract would be for five years through 2021. By MLB Rule, an extension must include the first year free agency eligibility. The same extension was inked for 2B Kolten Wong in 2016, 5 Yrs/$25.5 MM. Other current Cardinals player early signings were pitcher Adam Wainwright, catcher Yadier Molina and infielder Matt Carpenter, foregoing the three year arbitration process and keeping solid players with the team for a comfortable five seasons. At least, that is the plan by both sides concerned. 

Martinez was signed by the Cardinals, as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic, in 2010. At the age of 21, he made his debut out of the bullpen, May 3, 2013. Wild, firey, little control; but came with a tremendous fastball. He was in 21 games that season, with one game start. He closed his season with a 2-1/5.08 ERA/28.1 IP/24 SO. He continued his bullpen duty through 2014, 57 games with seven starts, honoring his fallen friend and teammate, Oscar Taveras. He worked his ERA down to 4.03 ERA. 

In 2015 Spring training, he won the #5 starting role for the Cardinals, over rookie Marco Gonzales. He went on to earn a spot on the All Star team. At the end of the 2015, after 31 games, 29 game starts (14-7/3.01 ERA/179.2 IP/9.22 K/9 and 3.13 BB/54.5 percent ground rate) he experienced shoulder stress and was placed on the DL. He was unavailable during the postseason, NLDS, facing the Chicago Cubs. This season, that came to a close for the Cardinals not seeing postseason play, he started 31 games, 16-9/3.04 ERA/8.02 K/9, 3.23 BB/9 and 56.4 percent ground-ball rate in his total 195.1 IP. His value of 30 wins, versus just 16 losses, in the past two seasons definitely helps his agent's cause in the near future extension talks. 

Adam Wainwright, signed for five years in 2009, for a $35 MM extension. What Martinez will sign for? Time will tell. But, as reported, both sides are likely to talk further come February - March, 2017.