On Thursday the Cardinals and Carlos Martinez agreed to a 5-year/51 million dollar contract.
There he is up there. Becoming a very wealthy man. A record-setting man, in fact.
His new deal is the biggest in MLB history for a player entering his first year of arbitration (besting Corey Kluber’s 5/38M deal with Cleveland from 2015). Here are the keys to the kingdom, kid. Enjoy.
There are three main ‘pros’ I see with this news.
1) The Cardinals have locked up an elite talent for the next 5 years (plus 2 option years, if they want) and even if he gives the team the same output he’s delivered the past 2 seasons, this will be a value deal. Very little downside for the Cardinals unless major injuries crop up.
2) The dude is a good ambassador for the city. You’re not required to be a good person if you play professional sports. But when your best players are also your best people… it makes those 10 dollar beers that help fund contracts like these a bit more palatable.
3) Carlos Martinez is the most fun Cardinal. Dexter Fowler might be coming for the belt, but as of right now, Martinez is still the champ.
Let me be clear – I really like this deal.
You don’t love it, though?
I could love it. I hope I come to love it. I WANT TO LOVE IT… but some Cardinals fans are still in denial.
The Cubs are the World Series champions and are set up to absolutely dominate the NL Central for the remainder of this decade and beyond. The Cardinals simply HAVE to make moves with the Cubs in mind.
When Carlos Martinez started against the Cubs in 2016, the Cardinals (mostly) lost:
- APR 20 – W – 7 IP – 3 H – 1 ER
- MAY 25 – L – 5 IP – 6 H – 6 ER
- AUG 11 – L – 6 IP – 3 H – 3 ER
- SEP 14 – L – 6 IP – 8 H – 4 ER
- SEP 25 – L – 6 IP – 6 H – 2 ER
And while you’d expect Martinez to improve from last season to 2017 – the Cubs? Well, they will probably be better too. So the question becomes: is the best of Martinez better than the best of Bryant, Baez, Rizzo and Russell?
Again, I have faith.
But the unfortunate reality is that Carlos Martinez was a player for the Cardinals in 2016 – a season where they couldn’t even sniff the divisional lead. As the newly crowned ‘leader-in-waiting’ for the staff, Martinez is going to prove the worth of this contract against Chicago
The upside? He unlocks the Cubs and becomes an absolute icon in St. Louis for derailing what looks to be a burgeoning dynasty.
Tall task. Real tall task, actually.
But if we’re going to make a collective bet on one dude that truly isn’t scared of the challenge, I think we’d pick the Tsunamy.
Photo: Brian Munoz