Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and pitcher Carlos Martinez are nearing an agreement on a five-year, $51 million contract extension. An announcement is expected on Thursday.
Martinez, 25, is arbitration-eligible for the first time. He requested $4.25 million while the Cardinals countered at $3.9 million. The extension, of course, will help both sides avoid an arbitration hearing. According to Heyman, the $51 million contract will set a record for a player in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
Martinez has been nothing if not consistent, posting a 3.01 ERA in 2015 and a 3.04 ERA last season. He also went 16-9 with a 174/70 K/BB ratio over 195 1/3 innings. Among qualified starters, only Noah Syndergaard (97.9 MPH) and Yordano Ventura (96.1 MPH) had a higher average fastball velocity than Martinez’s 95.6 MPH.
The Rockies have signed first baseman Mark Reynolds to a minor league contract, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Heyman adds that Reynolds seems “very likely” to make the Rockies’ 25-man roster out of spring training.
Reynolds, 33, posted a solid .282/.356/.450 triple-slash line with 14 home runs and 53 RBI in 441 plate appearances with the Rockies last season. Factoring in that playing half his games at Coors Field inflated his numbers a bit, that’s about an average slash line for a position player in the National League.
The Rockies signed Ian Desmond earlier this offseason to play first base, so Reynolds is expected to serve as a back-up. Since Desmond has experience playing shortstop and in the outfield, having Reynolds on the roster gives the Rockies the flexibility to move Desmond off of first base every so often when the need arises.
The Orioles have signed second baseman Johnny Giavotella to a minor league contract, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. If he makes the Orioles’ major league roster, he’ll earn $1.1 million with the opportunity to earn more through incentives. The contract includes an opt-out clause for March 27 or July 31.
Giavotella, 29, has spent parts of six seasons in the major leagues with the Royals and Angels. Over his career, he has hit .256/.295/.361 with 14 home runs and 125 RBI in 1,334 plate appearances. Almost all of Giavotella’s playing time has come at second base, but he did spend some time at third base and left field in the minors.
Jonathan Schoop has a firm handle on the starting gig at second base for the Orioles, so Giavotella — who started in many of his 99 games with the Angels in 2016 — is gunning for a back-up role in spring training.