Marlins sign Randy Choate to two-year, $2.5 million contract

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Florida’s bullpen makeover continues, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Marlins have signed left-handed specialist Randy Choate to a two-year, $2.5 million contract.

Choate is a Type B free agent and Tampa Bay smartly offered him arbitration, so the Rays will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds for losing a guy they acquired for nothing in 2009 and paid $700,000 in 2010.

None of which is to suggest that Choate isn’t plenty useful. A side-arming southpaw, he held left-handed hitters to a .202 batting average this year and a .217 mark for his career. However, he can’t be trusted versus right-handed hitters, as they’ve knocked him around to the tune of a .279 batting average and .800 OPS, which is how Choate led the AL with 85 appearances yet logged a total of just 45 innings.

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.