Cubs exploring trade targets for center field

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More from Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune:



The Cubs clearly aren’t blown away by any of the center fielders on the free
agent market, preferring to explore trades. One name to file away is Fernando Perez.




Perez, who turns 27 in April, owns a
.289/.375/.402 batting line in parts of six minor league seasons with
the Rays organization. A switch-hitter, Perez is blessed with supreme
speed — 199 stolen bases in 584 minor league games — but he has yet to find a real opportunity on the major league
level. He was limited to just 35 games between the minors and the
majors last season due to a broken left wrist suffered during an attempted diving catch in spring
training. He underwent surgery on his left shoulder in October, an injury likely caused by the same play, but
he is expected to be ready for the start of the 2010 season.




It would be a nice move for general
manager Jim Hendry in the sense that the Cubs wouldn’t have to add much
payroll to an already bloated outfield, but since Perez is under team
control through 2013, it would probably cost them a premium prospect. The club remains linked to Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel in free agency.

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.