Mets “kicking the tires” on Cody Ross

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According to Mike Puma of the New York Post the Mets are “kicking the tires” on free agent outfielder Cody Ross, which is always one of my favorite go-to phrases of any offseason.

Puma reports that the Mets are unlikely to offer Ross more than two years, but if he’s willing to sign in the same price range as Ryan Ludwick did with the Reds–getting $15 million for two years–he could be an option in New York.

Early in the offseason the assumption was that Ross would wind up back with the Red Sox, but that’s been all but ruled out after Boston signed Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, and Mike Napoli.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.