Schilling hired by ESPN as baseball analyst

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schilling press.JPGAccording to the Associated Press, six-time All-Star Curt Schilling has been hired as a baseball analyst for ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” and will make his debut during pregame coverage of tonight’s season opening game between the Yankees and Red Sox.

He will also carry a few other responsibilities, including appearances on ESPN Radio and ESPNBoston.com.  The outspoken Schilling will no doubt bring some much-needed energy to the BBTN set, but you have to wonder if the image-conscious network is in over its head with this one.  Schilling speaks his mind, sometimes to a fault, and even runs his own blog at 38pitches.com.  To censor him would almost defeat the purpose of the hire, wouldn’t it?

Schilling, now 43, spent 20 seasons in the major leagues, playing for the Orioles, Astros, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Red Sox.  He boasts a 216-146 career record, a 3.46 career ERA and a 1.14 career WHIP.  He was the runner-up in Cy Young Award voting three times.  Not a bad resume.

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.