And That Happened: Monday’s playoff highlights

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Cardinals 12, Nationals 4: Just sayin’, teams that lose their starting pitchers early due to injuries are 2-0 this postseason. If I’m the Giants or the A’s tonight, I hope for Ryan Vogelsong and Brett Anderson to get hurt. The Cardinals blast the Nats, with two homers from Carlos Beltran. About whom, some guy from Long Island probably thinking right now, was merely trolling the Mets from 2005-2011.

Orioles 3, Yankees 2: If you’re a closer, it pays to have a short memory.  Random observation based on watching Jeter misplay a couple of balls during last night’s game and, for that matter, watching two decades of Yankees playoff games: Jeter could drive his car through a crowded school playground, mowing down three score students with multiple fatalities, and whoever is covering the story would talk about how, normally, he’s such a great driver. They’d then describe the tragedy in the passive voice with terms like “the car just went into the kids near the swing set, there. Tough break for Jeter, who normally does not commit multiple acts of vehicular homicide.”

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.