Livan Hernandez to officially retire

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Livan Hernandez hasn’t pitched since 2012, but he hadn’t officially retired yet. Now he will reports Bill Ladson of MLB.com. The official papers will be filed and Hernandez’s playing career will, administratively speaking, be no more.

Hernandez pitched for 17 seasons in the big leagues, compiling a record of 178-177 with an ERA of 4.44. While he made the All-Star team twice and was a playoff hero in 1997 for the Marlins, he was basically an innings-eater. You could do well if he was in the back of the rotation throwing 200+ innings a year, but if he was your top starter you were kinda screwed. There’s a lot of value in that, even if it isn’t always pretty.

Of course, despite all of that, Hernandez is probably best known for Game 5 of the 1997 NLCS in which he “struck out” 16 Atlanta Braves batters. He had a bit of an assist, of course, from home umpire Eric Gregg:

Which, to this day, had to be the worst job of home plate umpiring in baseball history. I was livid at the time, but since then I’ve just grown amused by it all. Really, good for Hernandez. Unless he paid off Gregg, he didn’t ask for that zone. He merely observed that he was getting it and pitched to the spot he was given over and over again. Sure, the spot was a foot outside or more, but the reason for that is between Eric Gregg and his god.

A god which the late Gregg is likely sitting next to right now, laughing his butt off about that 1997 NLCS, up in Umpire Heaven.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

Jose Martinez
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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.