Johan Santana may or may not start Opening Day

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Mets manager Terry Collins implied earlier this month that he planned on Johan Santana starting Opening Day against the Braves on April 5, saying “in my mind, in my heart, he’ll be ready.” Or at least that’s what we thought he meant.

Collins clarified his comments yesterday, telling Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he feels Santana will be with the team on Opening Day, but not necessarily as the starting pitcher. The rehabbing left-hander is being lined up for the season opener, but the team wants to leave the door open in case he needs extra rest.

“I have not decided who is pitching Opening Day,” Collins told The News on Friday. “Now, my point is, right now, as we get through spring training, we may have to make adjustments. If Johan is, ‘Hey, look, I’ll be ready,’ but maybe he needs to pitch game two or game three or game four, we will adjust.”

Santana allowed five runs — four earned — over 2 2/3 innings yesterday against the Tigers, but was regularly hitting 90-91 mph on the radar gun and didn’t have any issues with his surgically repaired shoulder. Heck, if someone told you a month ago that Santana would be healthy enough to start the season on the active roster, they would have been met with immediate skepticism. So the fact that this is even a story at this point is pretty encouraging.

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.