Carlos Martínez has begun a throwing program in hopes of pitching in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link). The 30-year-old didn’t pitch after undergoing surgery to repair a ligament tear in his right thumb in mid-July.
That injury brought an unceremonious early end to Martínez’s nine-season run with the Cardinals. After the season, the front office made the easy call to buy him out for $500K rather than exercise a $17MM club option covering the 2022 campaign. Even prior to the injury, the two-time All-Star had struggled mightily over the past couple seasons. Since the start of 2020, Martínez owns just a 6.95 ERA with a subpar 15.8% strikeout rate in 102 1/3 innings.
Martínez certainly won’t approach the $17MM option value during his first trip through free agency, but he profiles as one of the more interesting buy-low options available. While the last couple seasons have been very disappointing, Martínez was one of the game’s better starters early in his career. From 2015-18, he worked to a 3.22 ERA/3.58 FIP over 698 2/3 frames. He spent the 2019 campaign working in relief based on injury concerns, and he continued to thrive in shorter stints. Martínez posted a 3.17 ERA over 48 appearances out of the ’pen that year, inducing ground-balls at a massive 56.5% clip.
There’ll surely be teams interested in seeing whether Martínez can recapture any of his prior form, although he’ll likely be limited to incentive-laden, one-year offers after the last two years. It’s possible some clubs could view him as a better option in short stints once again, and Goold adds that the right-hander is amenable to working in relief in 2022. The hope would be to stay healthy with a smaller workload and rebuild his value with better numbers before eventually lengthening back out as a starter over the long term. The robustness of his free agent market could very well depend on the quality of his stuff in winter ball, but it’s at least promising to hear he’s now healthy enough to begin throwing after a four-month recovery period.
This guy had SO much potential, but he had the classic million dollar arm and five cent head. He was an extreme clown to the point of distraction and brought about his own downfall by playing to his foolish rules and ideas. All that said, I hope he can get it together and have a fresh start on his career. This program should be a good starting point.
Perhaps he’s matured. While I love Bloom’s over all body of work, his contract to Richards last off season had me scratching. That said, if the cost is reasonable, I’m hoping he takes a shot here. With an incentive laden deal, just cut him if it’s not working out.
You are very harshly correct here. Ballclub under Mathney deserves a fair share of blame. They knew he didn’t work out the right areas during 2014-15 off-season and still let him start and he hasn’t been the same since he came out of that game in 2015 with his glove over his face due to a apparent shoulder injury. Never the same since
He’s worth a one year MLB deal.
Only if he agrees to return to bullpen.
the cuban solution
Oakland? Actually, shouldn’t have phrased this as a question.
When does he begin the brain program?
I agree with teacher above. Let some team sign him to a one year deal and let him prove himself. After signing that multi million dollar contract was when his performance and consistency went south cause he had guaranteed $$$ no matter how he pitched. jmo
This guy has New York Mets 2 year major league deal written all over him.
Hate to see him go. Another 20-game winner the Cardinals let fly the coop?
He may win 20 if he pitches 5 more seasons. BTW who are the other 20 game winners the Cardinals have let fly the coop? Steve Carlton 50 years ago and….? Did Ken Hill maybe win 20 one year? I guess Jamie Moyer counts but just about everyone is guilty there.
Looks like Moyer is the only pitcher other than Carlton to leave Cardinals and then win 20 back to at least ’76.
I like Gomber, Gallen, and Alcantara as future 20 game winners if there teams can win, imagine those three in the rotation with Flaherty and Hudson right now? Not to hard to do…. Cardinals would unquestionably have one of of best starting pitching staffs in the league, hands down!
He’ll get some team to bite for a couple million smackers with some incentives.
Probably end up in Miami due to the plethora of strip club access. Dudes an immature headcase.
If Molina couldn’t help him, no one can. He can’t be a starter, because he’s a head case. He can’t be a closer, because all of his pitches have so much movement, even he doesn’t know where it’s going. I think he may be best utilized as an opener. Such a waste.
he needs to get away from molina. he’ll be better without him, just like you got better away from your parents.
“Can’t have a game without a program!” “I’ll take one.” (He tosses it to me.)
I guess it makes sense that Martinez is on a throwing program, as opposed to a pitching program, because that’s what he’s been doing for the last couple of years now: throwing, not pitching. Pitching is when you have a plan, or at least some idea of where the ball is going.
Pitching is a thinking man’s game, he’s never been accused of that. Always a thrower this one.
Martinez would probably make a solid Closer. Perhaps he should embrace the possibility as so many other Pitchers who couldn’t be productive starters anymore have done. Market him as a Closer and probably get a better deal
His velocity is way down from his prime so he’s going to need to learn how to pitch and I don’t think he can. Buyer beware.
Watch Carlos start the all star game after Farhan signs him for a pittance.
His arm is shot but his biggest issue is that the synapses that connect neurons in the brain to neurons in the rest of the body never connected. Someone will sign him though.
With the right club and a patient coach, he can be a decent 2 or 3 pitcher in the rotation or set up pitcher. Don’t know if he has the mental discipline to be “the” end of the game closer.
best thing for carlos martinez is to get away from molina