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Report: Cardinals interested in Chris Archer

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Discussions between the Cardinals and Rays have “centered on Chris Archer,” Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Nothing appears to be imminent, and it’s worth noting that trade talks between the two sides fizzled out last month. Still, as club president John Mozeliak suggested Saturday, the Cardinals haven’t completely ruled out additional upgrades as they prepare for the upcoming season.

The 29-year-old Archer has drawn considerable interest around the league following a strong performance in 2017. The Rays’ ace went 10-12 in 34 starts, earning his second All-Star nomination with a 4.07 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.1 SO/9 in 201 innings. In September, a brief bout of forearm tightness raised some concerns about his durability, but no major structural damage was revealed and it seems unlikely that he’ll be plagued by the injury again in 2018.

The Cardinals may not have a strong need for another starting pitcher, as they’re currently poised to enter the 2018 season with a rotation featuring Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver and newcomer Miles Mikolas. There’s no question that a starter of Archer’s caliber would help them gain an edge over the rival Cubs, however, especially as Lance Lynn has already flown the coop, Alex Reyes is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery and Mikolas has yet to prove that he can duplicate the 2.25 ERA, 1.1 BB/9 and 9.1 SO/9 he posted in NPB last year.

Report: J.D. Martinez signing delayed by medical issue

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The Red Sox reportedly inked free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract last Monday, but there appears to be a slight hitch in the process. According to a report from Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, the team is sorting through a medical issue that has delayed the signing. The specific nature of the issue has yet to be revealed, though Drellich adds that both the team and agent Scott Boras have involved additional medical experts in the process.

For what it’s worth, Martinez remained fairly healthy during his 2017 run with the Tigers and Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old outfielder spent six weeks on the disabled list after suffering a right foot sprain during camp, but managed to make a full recovery by mid-May and didn’t relapse once throughout the rest of the year. Of course, the medical issue holding up his new contract could be of an entirely different nature.

While spring training is already underway for the rest of the Red Sox, club manager Alex Cora doesn’t appear too concerned by Martinez’s absence — yet. “The thing I can do is my thing,” he told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “My job here is to show up every day and get ’em ready.”