Just when you were thinking John Mozeliak was really planning to take Carlos Martinez to an arbitration hearing, he once again proves himself a liar. Near the end of the Winter Meetings he says he doesn’t expect anything to happen for awhile, and then Dexter Fowler agrees to terms later that night. He says they’re taking Carlos Martinez to arbitration to prove a point, and only a week until the hearing locks him into an extension.
I’m joking about Mo being a liar, but really! Taking Martinez to arbitration was a bad idea and it seemed like everyone knew it. Except Mozeliak.
Martinez, 25, appears to be a pitcher on the verge of becoming a staff ace. He threw 195 innings, won 16 games and posted a 3.04 ERA as he carried the starting rotation last season. He was the only Cardinals’ pitcher to post a positive ERA+ and start more than 5 games.
Potential contract extension numbers for Martinez has been a hot topic this winter, and I had suggested that I saw Martinez going for a 4 year, $50 million deal. So the Cardinals getting him locked up for $51 million over 5 years and then having two option years on the end of that is a great deal for the club. That same deal is the largest contract ever for a first-time arbitration-eligible pitcher.
I’ve said it plenty of times before, but I have high hopes for Martinez. There were times last season where I felt like he just chose not to use his best stuff and still dominated the opponent anyway. The only thing standing between Martinez and being considered a true ace and sliding himself into the conversation as one of the best pitchers in the league is establishing consistency. It’s time for him to make that happen and I’m excited that I get to watch it.