Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals pitching prospect Carlos Martinez still hasn’t arrived at spring training in Jupiter, Florida because he has not obtained a proper work visa.
Strauss says the Cardinals front office has “no idea” when Martinez might show up. The talented young right-hander is already two weeks behind the club’s other pitchers, though he’s not in the running for an Opening Day roster spot and wouldn’t have been even if he had made it to south Florida on time.
Martinez, a 21-year-old Dominican, posted a 2.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 92/32 K/BB ratio across 22 appearances (21 starts) last season between High-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield.
Baseball America ranked him No. 38 on their list of the Top 100 prospects this winter and MLB.com had him at No. 33. Martinez seems likely to open the 2013 campaign back in Double-A.
The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.
Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.
The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.