Billy Wagner earns save No. 400

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Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter overshadowed another significant accomplishment on Friday night, as Billy Wagner notched his 400th career save, striking out the side in a 3-1 win over the Tigers.

Wagner is just the fifth player in baseball history to eclipse the 400-save plateau. The 38-year-old is now 24 saves behind John Franco for the most saves ever by a left-handed pitcher. 

Here’s what Wagner told David O’Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

“When you go out there and pitch for 14 years, you start to put some
numbers together. This is just a credit to the hard work and all the
people behind me that always made the plays and made me look good.”

Wagner has announced his intention to retire after 2010, despite a $6.5 million vesting option for 2011 if he finishes 50 games this season. He has already finished 30 games and it’s not even July. After Friday’s game, Braves skipper Bobby Cox jokingly suggested that Wags should think about sticking around.  

“He’s been dominating all season long, and maybe
we can talk him out of retirement.”

Wagner, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2008, is currently averaging 95.8 mph on his fastball, his highest velocity since the 2006 season. The southpaw has a 1.19 ERA, 15 saves and a 46/12 K/BB ratio over his first 30 1/3 innings, just the latest addition to a resume that is completely underrated in the scope of baseball history. He’s just as dominant as ever. 

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.