Stephen Strasburg’s debut yesterday was pretty electrifying. Supreme heat — his first pitch was 99 m.p.h. — and a good breaking ball clearly overmatched opposing hitters. As Keith Law notes, his changeup needs some work, but otherwise he’s a guy who looks like he won’t be spending a ton of time down on the farm.
But how much time will he spend on the mound in Washington this year? Peter Gammons reports via Twitter that Boras negotiated a 100-innings cap for him Strasburg this season. The team disputes this, saying that he could pitch 150-160 innings.
I’m inclined to doubt the Gammons report. Not because I don’t trust Gammons, but because Boras has a history of ineffectual beefing about the way his clients are used by teams in a way that suggests that he doesn’t have any leverage when it comes to that stuff. He’s SuperAgent and everything, but I just can’t picture any organization letting him dictate competitive decisions like that.
Figure on Strasburg being up in June and pitching those 150 innings or so.
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.