Carlos Martinez’s extension with the Cardinals was largely spurred by the right-hander and agent Brian Mejia, the latter of whom first approached the Redbirds about a new deal nearly a year ago, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While Martinez secured a guaranteed $51MM and could earn up to $86MM if the Cardinals exercise club options for both 2022 and ’23, Craig Edwards of FanGraphs opines that it’s not a great deal for the player, arguing that the 25-year-old may have left roughly $100MM on the table by eschewing the chance to hit free agency after the 2019 season. As Edwards points out, though, it’s difficult to fault Martinez for choosing security for him and his family – especially given the recent deaths of two fellow Dominicans, ex-Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and former Kansas City righty Yordano Ventura. Plus, Martinez will still have an opportunity to hit free agency as a 31-year-old if he sees this contract through. “He could have just pointed to (age) 28 as a free agent,” general manager John Mozeliak said Thursday. “He chose not to.”
More from the majors’ Central divisions:
- While the newly signed Brandon Moss looks like a strong candidate to become the Royals’ everyday designated hitter, the team doesn’t aim to use him that way. “We didn’t sign Brandon to be our DH,” GM Dayton Moore revealed Wednesday (via Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star). “We plan on rotating that slot. We have an aging lineup, as we know. I think it’s going to be very beneficial to give a lot of our position players an opportunity to DH from time to time.” Moore added that Moss’ ability to play both corner outfield and first base “was important for us.” Moss has spent the majority of his career in the American League, but he has seen far more time in the outfield and at first (a combined 833 games) than DH (27 games).
- The Pirates turned down trade offers – “some big, some small” – involving right-hander Chad Kuhl last summer, GM Neal Huntington informed Adam Berry of MLB.com. Now Kuhl, 24, figures to begin 2017 in the Pirates’ rotation after logging a 4.20 ERA, 6.7 K/9 against 2.55 BB/9 and a 44.3 percent ground-ball rate in 14 starts (70 2/3 innings) as a rookie last year. “He really didn’t surprise us internally,” Huntington said of Kuhl’s promising debut. “We’ve liked him for a long time.”
- Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang earned his third DUI arrest in South Korea in December, but the team is proceeding as if it won’t affect his standing for spring training. “The expectation is that [Kang] will arrive and be ready to go,” Huntington told Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But until that happens, there’s always a chance that we could hit a snag.” Kang could still face punishment from Major League Baseball, but it’s unclear whether he has gone before a panel yet for an assessment, according to Nesbitt. Per the collective bargaining agreement, players in Kang’s situation “must appear before a joint panel agreed upon by the league and the player’s union,” writes Nesbitt, who notes that Kang is still under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that took place in Chicago last summer.
- The Indians’ decision to sign outfielder Wily Mo Pena to a minor league pact Tuesday came as a favor to their highest-profile offseason acquisition, first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, writes Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com. Encarnacion, who’s friends with Pena, asked the Tribe to venture to the Dominican Republic to observe Pena and other unnamed players work out. The Indians came away impressed enough to take a flyer on the 35-year-old Pena, who landed an invitation to spring training.