Mets closer Frank Francisco is available to pitch tonight

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UPDATE: Francisco must be feeling better now, because he’s available out of the bullpen tonight.

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For now the Mets are sticking with Frank Francisco as closer despite his 7.71 ERA, but the right-hander was unavailable last night due to hamstring tightness that manager Terry Collins believes could be related to the high altitude in Colorado.

Collins speculated to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that Francisco was dehydrated due to the altitude and that led to his hamstring acting up a day after the Mets’ series in Colorado ended.

Now they’re in Houston, but Collins indicated that Francisco may be unavailable again tonight. Last night with the bullpen short-handed Manny Acosta was asked to pitch a second inning of relief and coughed up the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

Jose Martinez
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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.