A’s assistant general manager David Forst told the San Francisco Chronicle last week that Josh Donaldson would get the first shot at replacing Scott Sizemore (knee surgery) at third base.
It’s still early, and regular-season playing time is rarely dictated by spring training stats, but the 26-year-old former catcher is not off to a good start.
Donaldson went hitless in Saturday’s spring exhibition game against the Mariners and is now 0-for-7 with three strikeouts since the opening of Cactus League play. Eric Sogard, who might be next in line for playing time at the hot corner, went 2-for-4 in Saturday’s game and homered in his debut Friday.
Donaldson batted .261/.344/.439 with 17 homers and 70 RBI in 115 games last year at Triple-A Sacramento.
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.