Will Carlos Martinez start or go to the Cardinals bullpen?
The status of pitcher Carlos Martinez heading into the start of the 2015 baseball season is up in the air for the St. Louis Cardinals.
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It’s hard to get a good read on what manager Mike Matheny plans to do with the Dominican Republic native. Martinez is competing against left-handed pitchers Jaime Garcia and Marco Gonzales for the fifth and final rotation spot. Garcia, some argue, has an edge in the race with his performance this spring and how much the Cardinals will be paying him.
Lance Lynn starts today but beside that, the Cardinals have yet to announce their pitchers for the rest of the week. Opening Night is less than two weeks away and it’s crucial that the Cardinals get this decision right.
Should Garcia win the position, Gonzales will probably start the season in Memphis and likely get promoted when the first pitcher is injured.
Martinez wants to start. There’s no questioning that.
“Whatever they tell me, I’m up for whatever they say,” Martinez said according to Bernie Miklasz. I just want to help the team and be part of it. And keep thinking and keep my mindset as a starter.”
In his column, Miklasz brings up a good point about Martinez. He’s appeared in 86 games for the Cardinals but yet he’s been off-limits in trade talks. Martinez was a top prospect when he made his debut during the 2013 season and drew comparisons to Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez.
"Baseball is overstocked with relievers. They’re relatively cheap and easy to obtain. By keeping Martinez in the bullpen, the Cardinals could depress his trade value. Unless the Cardinals are willing to fully commit to Martinez as a starter, then they should sell high rather than do nothing as his stock drops."
The other possibility would be that Garcia wins the rotation spot and starts out very well this season. The Cardinals could explore trade talks that will send Garcia packing. I could certainly see this happening if Garcia stays healthy and continues to pitch well after an impressive spring. The key is that Garcia stays healthy.
I don’t know what happens but Martinez is certainly going about everything with the right attitude.