St. Louis Cardinals: Time to Extend Carlos Martinez

Many fans of the St. Louis Cardinals are frustrated with John Mozeliak’s movements or lack thereof this winter.  Maybe he is working on things unseen through signings and trades: extensions.

Carlos Martinez is the greatest jewel in the St. Louis Cardinals pitching rotation.  In addition to his abilities, he is- quite frankly- dirt *ss cheap!  All of these things considered, the Cardinals need to do something and do something now to lock him up and keep him for years to come.

This begs the question then of what value do you throw at such an outstanding pitcher?  How much would the organization spend on an arm such as Martinez on the open market?  Would a pitcher like CMart even want to come to an organization like the Cardinals?

Before we dive into supposition, let’s take a look at CMart’s career to remind ourselves (like we need it) of just how incredible is this fireballer.

Martinez was signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 2009.  He came to the States from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  But wait… Martinez’s signing by the Red Sox was voided the same year it was completed.

Here’s a quick rundown of this tidbit of history.  The Red Sox signed Martinez under the name Matias.  During the 2009 year, MLB completed its background check and discovered that Matias was not Carlos’ last name and this raised questions about his date of birth as well.  As it turned out, the Matias name had been assumed after the death of his mother (this was his uncle’s last name).

All questions ostensibly answered, the Cardinals were able to swoop in and grab this great asset.  The Red Sox were disappointed and did file a protest but the deal with the Cardinals stood and Martinez was on his way to being the top-of-the-rotation hurler that Cardinals Nation has come to love.

Without belaboring the love-fest that we could all pile upon Martinez, I’ll instead just share a chart of his greatness:

Year Age Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO BF ERA+ FIP WHIP
2010 18 FRk 3 2 .600 0.76 12 12 59.0 28 5 1 14 78 217 0.712
2011 19 A+,A 6 5 .545 3.93 18 18 84.2 76 37 3 44 98 376 1.417
2012 20 AA,A+ 6 5 .545 2.93 22 21 104.1 91 34 6 32 92 436 1.179
2013 21 AAA,AA,FgW 6 3 .667 2.30 18 18 86.0 68 22 4 28 81 360 1.116
2013 21 NL 2 1 .667 5.08 21 1 28.1 31 16 1 9 24 124 75 3.08 1.412
2014 22 FgW,AAA 2 0 1.000 1.19 5 5 22.2 16 3 0 1 19 81 0.750
2014 22 NL 2 4 .333 4.03 57 7 89.1 90 40 4 36 84 386 90 3.18 1.410
2015 ★ 23 NL 14 7 .667 3.01 31 29 179.2 168 60 13 63 184 755 130 3.21 1.286
2016 24 NL 16 9 .640 3.04 31 31 195.1 169 66 15 70 174 809 135 3.61 1.224
4 Yrs 34 21 .618 3.32 140 68 492.2 458 182 33 178 466 2074 118 3.35 1.291
162 Game Avg. 11 7 .618 3.32 46 22 161 150 60 11 58 152 678 118 3.35 1.291
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/28/2016.

Wow, right? In addition, ti seems that Martinez continues to get better each year.  This might be due in large part to Yadier Molina‘s influence.  This might also be due to Martinez’s own mission to pitch in memory of his late friend, Oscar Taveras.

So let’s cut to the chase: Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinals need to extend Martinez and do so NOW.  2017 was Martinez’s first face into arbitration and he was given a contract but an extension makes so much more sense to me.  I believe this would benefit the Cardinals financially in the years to come and provide security to Carlos.

So what would it take?  Using Jake Arrieta as a point of comparison, and thanks to the MLBTR post discussion Arrieta’s potential extensions/arbitration article this morning, we may be able to glean a suitable extension offer.

Using MLBTR’s math, Arrieta will make just over $31MM in his three years of arbitration.  If we used these same numbers as a starting point but increase the offer a touch, we could see the St. Louis Cardinals locking up Martinez until he turns thirty.

Here’s what I’m thinking: offer Martinez something like five years at $70MM.  That would equate to an AAV of $14M.  Arrieta’s 3/$31MM arbitration figures would equate to an AAV of $10.3M so this deal would look enticing to Martinez for sure.

In the same article, however, MLBTR predicts that Arrieta could bring in $16.8M AAV.  This math in mind, would Cardinals Nation (or the St. Louis Cardinals organization) faint at the idea of an offer of 5/$85MM for Matinez?  This would put his AAV at $17M and would best the MLBTR prediction for Arrieta.

Why five years?  I believe five is a magic number for both the Cardinals and Martinez.  The St. Louis Cardinals would lock themselves for an attainable number of years without risking too much of the team’s payroll.  Martinez would love five years- in my opinion- as this would let him hit the open market at the age of thirty with good years left in his arm.

If we stick with the AAV of $17M, this will have Carlos earn $17M over the first three years of the five year deal.  This equates to buying out two year of arbitration which could value at $16M.  If he then hits the free market at thirty, he could look to bank in the neighborhood of $25M for an AAV.  Win for all, right?

What do you think?  Will a deal of 5/$70 or 5/$85 get it done?  Would Martinez accept this extension or do you think he would seek additional money or additional years?  While we have heard nothing more about extension talks since October, it is a good bet that both sides would love to see this man remain a Cardinal for years to come.

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Please, Mozeliak, please get this done.  Oh, and also, please extend Molina.  That is all.  Wait… sign us some more impact players too.  Go Cards!

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