A’s reach deal with Ziegler, avoid arbitration

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From ESPN.com’s Buster Olney comes word that the A’s avoided arbitration with reliever Brad Ziegler on Saturday by agreeing to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.

Ziegler, a 31-year-old right-hander, posted a 3.26 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 60.2 innings last season and a 3.07 ERA over 73.1 innings the year before.  He was eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter and did pretty well for himself.

Last season he earned just $410,000.  This season he will earn more than double that.

Thanks to a lights-out rookie season that saw him set a record for most scoreless innings (36.1) to start a career, the submariner from Missouri State University boasts a 2.51 career ERA across 193.2 major league frames.  He should remain an effective and useful reliever in Oakland at least through his arbitration years.

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.