Aaron Cook preparing for comeback attempt

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the story:

Aaron Cook, RHP, free agent — The former Rockies and Red Sox pitcher, one of the fastest workers in baseball, is looking to make a comeback after he was forced to shut down after experiencing a tired arm in late July. Cook is fine now and looking for another chance. He did not pitch in the majors last season, making eight starts with Triple A Colorado Springs.

Cook posted a hideous 8.15 ERA in those eight Triple-A starts, yielding 56 hits and 38 runs (32 earned) in just 35 1/3 innings. But he’s only 34 years old and he feels rejuvenated after sitting out the second half of the 2013 campaign. Cook should be able to land a non-guaranteed minor league contract and camp invite before the start of spring training next month.

The righty owns a 4.60 ERA (103 ERA+) in 1,406 1/3 career innings at the major league level.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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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.