Saltalamacchia '50-50' for season-ending surgery

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia revealed yesterday that he’s “50-50” to undergo season-ending surgery after leaving a minor-league rehab game over the weekend with reoccurring numbness in his right arm.
Saltalamacchia has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, which is described as “a rare condition” that involves a rib pressing against a nerve in his shoulder and causing the pain in his arm that landed him on the disabled list in mid-August.
“I’m not giving up,” Saltalamacchia said. “I tried 15 days and it didn’t get better. It got better but not to the point where I can play nine innings.”
Prior to the injury he hit just .236/.293/.375 with an ugly 96/22 K/BB ratio in 83 games, and the former top prospect’s lack of development is a big part of why the Rangers’ once-impressive catching depth has gone from strength to weakness this season.
Ivan Rodriguez and Taylor Teagarden have split time behind the plate since Saltalamacchia landed on the shelf, but he’s still just 24 years old and if healthy will definitely have a chance to reclaim the starting job next spring. However, the success rate for thoracic outlet syndrome surgery is said to be only 50-80 percent.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.