J.A. Happ was one of several odd men out after the Blue Jays acquired R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson via trades with the Mets and Marlins. The 30-year-old lefty is on the outside looking in and the subject of many trade rumors, which has made him unhappy.
Happ has a career 4.19 ERA in 590 career innings, including a 5.08 ERA over the last two seasons with the Astros and Blue Jays. The Jays will decide, if Happ is not traded, whether he is better suited to start the season in the bullpen as a long reliever or with Triple-A Buffalo in the starting rotation.
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.