St. Louis Cardinals: The important thing with Carlos Martinez’s surgery
By Matt Graves
Carlos Martinez underwent a minor surgery in his injury-plagued shoulder. What is the biggest key after the surgery for the St. Louis Cardinals reliever?
Carlos Martinez was the home for a lot of hate from St. Louis Cardinals’ fans towards the end of the 2019 season as he did struggle some during the postseason. After moving into the closer’s role and excelling, it was overall a good year for the 28-year-old hurler.
The 2019 season didn’t start well though as shoulder weakness caused by improper training led to Martinez having a late start to the season and started the fan opposition. The weakness wasn’t from a lack of work in the offseason but improper workouts that didn’t focus on the shoulder that had been the source of injuries throughout his career.
The biggest frustration at the time was that the hole in the rotation created by Martinez’s move to the bullpen stemmed from the fact that Martinez ignored the team’s request to spend the offseason working out under their supervision.
The rotation spot was grabbed by Dakota Hudson and he had a great year but still, Carlos Martinez the starter is a lot more valuable than Carlos Martinez the closer.
Now that the season is over, Martinez has had a small surgery in his shoulder to supposedly help aid in his offseason recovery and strength building. It was just a platelet-rich plasma injection, but a procedure is a procedure. There are a lot worse things that pitchers go to Dr. James Andrews for, but this still can be a bad thing for Martinez.
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Ideally, this helps the shoulder respond better to exercise and build strength to hopefully return to the rotation in 2020. That is the biggest question though. Last offseason, Martinez didn’t do what was necessary to get back to the rotation and it hurt the team in the long run.
I would expect the Cardinals are smart enough to not fully put their trust in Martinez as a lock for the rotation, but they can still expect it of him.
The Cardinals have made an investment in Martinez as a starter and if he isn’t putting in the work to keep up his end of the deal, it may be time to move on from the talented pitcher. When he’s good, he can partner with Jack Flaherty at the top of the rotation, but he hasn’t put in the right work to be that guy lately, and that is worrisome.
Martinez may come back as a reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2020, but this fan hopes he is starting. In any case, this offseason is a big test for what’s most important for Martinez. Is he going to put in the work and get right or is he going to sit back and relax on his contract?