Red Sox reportedly nearing four-year contract extension with Josh Beckett

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ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports that long-term contract talks between Josh Beckett and the Red Sox “have progressed to the point that there is optimism a deal will be completed in the next week or two.”
According to Olney the Red Sox have offered Beckett a four-year deal worth “in the range of $65 million to $70 million.” This offseason Boston signed John Lackey–who’s about 18 months older than Beckett–to a five-year, $82.5 million deal, so a four-year extension for Beckett would lock them both up through the 2014 season.
Over the weekend ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes reported that the Red Sox were unwilling to guarantee Beckett a fifth year, but if Olney’s subsequent report is on the mark that apparently isn’t a deal-breaker for the 29-year-old right-hander.
Beckett is in the final season of a three-year, $30 million deal after going 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA and 199/55 K/BB ratio in 212.1 innings spread over 32 starts in 2009. During four years in Boston he’s 65-34 with a 4.05 ERA in 122 regular-season starts and 5-1 with a 3.88 ERA in the playoffs.

Carlos Martínez to work out of Cardinals’ bullpen for rest of season

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When Cardinals starter Carlos Martínez returns from the disabled list, likely some time next week, he will pitch out of the bullpen, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Martínez has been on the disabled list since late July with a strained right shoulder. The plan is still for Martínez to start in 2019 and beyond.

GM John Mozeliak said, “If you’re going to go down that starting path and you’re starting at ground zero, the likelihood of him being back would be sometime in mid-September. And we’ve done that twice this year and ended up in the same place after a few starts.”

Martínez, 26, has a 3.41 ERA and a 98/49 K/BB ratio in 100 1/3 innings across 18 starts this season. The Cardinals’ rotation currently features Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, John Gant, Luke Weaver, and Austin Gomber.

The Cardinals entered play Monday 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot in the National League, so adding Martínez to the bullpen — or, subtracting him from the rotation, depending on how you look at it — could make a significant impact on the club’s playoff chances.