The Cardinals will decline Carlos Martinez and Matt Carpenter’s club options, ending their lengthy — and completely different — tenures in St. Louis.
On Wednesday, seven St. Louis Cardinals players were declared free agents. There will be two more added to the list in the coming days, with the team scheduled to decline Carlos Martinez and Matt Carpenter’s club options, according to multiple reports.
This has been obvious for months. The Cardinals have been actively looking to part with Martinez, who did not pitch in the final few months of the season after spraining his ankle during a celebration. Their frustration with the right-hander reached a new high and after starting his career with so much promise, will leave St. Louis after posting 9.90 and 6.23 ERAs in his last two seasons. He may never pitch another inning in MLB again.
Carpenter, on the other hand, has a chance to sign a deal for 2022, though it will be a minor-league deal. He has already indicated that he wants to play again, whether that’s in St. Louis or elsewhere, and his track record and defensive versatility should earn him a spring training invite. But he is nowhere near the player he once was, hitting .169/.305/.275 in 207 at-bats this season after he was relegated to a bench role.
Martinez and Carpenter departing will give the Cardinals over $20 million in extra financial flexibility. And combined with Andrew Miller’s departure and Dexter Fowler’s contract coming off the books, will give them nearly $50 million of additional payroll. It remains unlikely they sign Carlos Correa or Corey Seager – they will command too many dollars and years for the Cardinals’ liking – but it gives them plenty of space to sign Trevor Story.
But first, the Cardinals will decline Martinez and Carpenter’s options – and while the move hasn’t been made yet, it is a mere formality at this point. Both are as good as gone.