Mets re-sign Cora to 1-year deal with 2011 option

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WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports that Alex Cora is close to returning to the Mets for the same $2 million that he earned this season. According to Bradford the one-year contract will also include a vesting option for 2011, but the details of that aren’t yet available.
Cora was slated for a bench job when he joined the Mets as a free agent last offseason, but Jose Reyes’ hamstring problems pushed him into extended duty and he ended up with more than 300 plate appearances for the first time since 2004 despite playing through torn thumb ligaments in both hands.
He didn’t play particularly well, batting just .251/.320/.310 while making 54 starts at shortstop and another 13 at second base, but as far as utility infielders go Cora is a decent one. As is the case with most mid-30s infielders his range defensively has slipped, but he remains capable of doing a passable job at either up-the-middle spot and has hit .254/.326/.344 over the past three seasons.
MLB shortstops and second basemen hit .271/.332/.405 as a group this season and those numbers include all the starters, so .254/.326/.344 or even .251/.320/.310 isn’t bad from a backup. Plus, if Cora ends up logging 300 plate appearances again in 2010 that means something went terribly wrong for the Mets and paying $2 million for a mediocre utility man will be the least of their problems.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.