4 recent St. Louis Cardinals whose careers went awry
Jose Martinez, OF/1B
Jose Martinez spent a whopping 11 years in the minor leagues, from 2006 to 2016, before getting his chance with the Cardinals. He signed as an international free agent with the Chicago White Sox, who released him after the 2012 season. From 2013 through the first half of 2016, Martinez played in the minor leagues for the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals. Throughout this time, he hit very well but was not given a chance in the major leagues.
The Cardinals purchased Martinez’s contract in July of 2016, and he debuted with the Cardinals on Sept. 6. In his time with St. Louis, Martinez was very consistent at the plate, hitting .298 in just over three seasons. However, his defense was subpar at best, and with no designated hitter in the National League at the time, the Cardinals had to sacrifice a spot in the outfield to get his bat in the lineup.
The Cardinals flipped Martinez to the Tampa Bay Rays along with Randy Arozarena for Matthew Liberatore and Edgardo Rodriguez before the 2020 season, and Martinez’s career flatlined shortly after. He hit only .239 with the Rays, and on Aug. 30, they shipped him to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later. With the Cubs, Martinez failed to record a single hit in his 22 plate appearances.
Martinez signed as a free agent with the New York Mets in 2021, but he didn’t rack up gaudy numbers at three levels of the minor leagues, hitting .232 amid two long injury stints. Martinez is currently playing in the Mexican League.