Astros release outfielder J.D. Martinez

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After being removed from the 40-man roster during the offseason, outfielder J.D. Martinez was given his release by the Astros this morning. The news comes from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Martinez posted some impressive numbers as a prospect in the minors and held his own in the big leagues initially, but he hasn’t enjoyed much success since the early part of the 2012 season. The 26-year-old actually led the Astros with 55 RBI in 2012, but this was more of a statement of how awful the team was than anything else. He hit just .250/.272/.378 with seven home runs and an ugly 82/10 K/BB ratio over 86 games with Houston last season and missed quite a bit of time with a wrist injury.

That Martinez passed through waivers unclaimed in November shows how far he has fallen, but he’ll surely get an opportunity elsewhere soon. However, he’ll have to earn his way back on the major league radar.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.