The Nationals are on the lookout for a left-handed reliever and Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty is their latest target.
O’Flaherty required Tommy John surgery on his left elbow this May and is expected to miss at least the first month of the 2014 season, but that hasn’t stopped six teams from expressing interest. The 28-year-old owns a fantastic 1.99 ERA dating back to 2009 and was in line for a big contract in free agency prior to surgery, so he could be an excellent buy-low opportunity. The thought is that he’ll sign a one-year deal in hopes of testing the market again next winter.
Kiglore hears that the Nationals’ search for a left-handed reliever has also led them to discussions with Boone Logan, Scott Downs, J.P. Howell and Oliver Perez.
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.