The Nats and John Smoltz are interested in one another

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The Washington Nationals are talking to John Smoltz, and both sides seem interested in doing a deal. The only holdup is that Smoltz would rather play for a contender, but I think we’ve passed the point in Smoltz’s career where he has a ton of choices in the matter.

You have to think that a team like the Nats — looking for credibility and looking for someone to play Crash Davis to Stephen Strasburg’s Nuke LaLoosh — would offer Smoltz (a) more money; and (b) a better chance to start than to come out of the pen.  Smoltz likes both of those things, and given that he has already spent more time in the playoffs than anyone this side of red white and blue bunting, you think he might take the lower pressure gig.

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.