Twins close to agreement with free agent Jason Marquis

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According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Twins are nearing agreement on a contract with free agent right-hander Jason Marquis.

Marquis posted an underwhelming 4.43 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 23 starts between the Nationals and Diamondbacks in 2011, fanning only 76 batters and walking 43 across 132 innings before fracturing his right fibula on a comebacker in mid-August. He had a wretched 6.60 ERA in 58 2/3 innings in 2010.

Marquis should find better luck at Minnesota’s Target Field, an extreme pitcher’s park, but the 33-year-old is doubtful to suddenly become a dominant starter in his 13th MLB season. No word yet on the financial terms, nor the length of the deal that is being discussed.

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.