Dodgers activate Chad Billingsley from disabled list for tonight’s game

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The Dodgers have activated right-hander Chad Billingsley from the 15-day disabled list. He’ll make his return tonight against the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Billingsley hasn’t started since July 7 due to right elbow inflammation. While he didn’t make a minor league rehab start, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that they felt confident enough to bring him back after he completed a bullpen session yesterday.

Billingsley, who turns 28 on Saturday, has a 4.30 ERA and 100/34 K/BB ratio in 104 2/3 innings over 18 starts this season. His outing tonight is an important one, as the Dodgers continue to evaluate whether to upgrade their starting rotation or go after another bat in advance of next Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

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.