Cardinals officially name Carlos Martinez as fifth starter

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In a decision that was all but inevitable after news of Jaime Garcia’s renewed shoulder issues, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this afternoon that right-hander Carlos Martinez has won the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

Things likely would have turned out differently if Garcia was healthy, but Martinez earned the opportunity after posting a 3.94 ERA and 16/5 K/BB ratio across 16 innings during Grapefruit League action. The 23-year-old owns a mediocre 4.28 ERA through his first 117 2/3 innings in the big leagues and has had some issues putting away left-handed batters, but it’s hard to bet against his raw stuff.

Matheny ultimately chose Martinez over prospect left-hander Marco Gonzales, who will now head back to Triple-A. The 2013 first-round pick struggled with his control in his first taste of the majors last season, but it was a small sample and he owns a 2.48 ERA in the minors. He should get another shot soon.

Octavio Dotel, Luis Castillo arrested in drug, money laundering investigation

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Five years ago, Octavio Dotel retired following a 15-year career in which he pitched for a then-record 13 different teams. I’m not exactly sure what he’s been up to since then, but I know that today he got arrested, as did former Marlins, Twins and Mets second baseman Luis Castillo.

That’s the report from Héctor Gómez, and from the Dominican Today, each of whom report that the two ex-big leaguers were arrested today in connection with a longstanding money laundering and/or drug investigation focused on one César Peralta. also known as “César the Abuser.” So he sounds fun. Gómez characterizes it as a money laundering thing. Reporter Dionisio Soldevila characterizes it as “drug trafficking charges.” Such charges often go hand-in-hand, of course. I’m sure more details will be come out eventually. For now we have the report of their arrests. According to the Dominican Today, four cars belonging to Dotel were confiscated as well.

Dotel didn’t debut until he was 25, and for his first couple of years with the Mets and Astros he struggled to establish himself as a starter. He was switched full-time to the Houston bullpen at 27, however, and went on to make 724 relief appearances with a 3.32 ERA and a .207 opponents’ batting average while racking up 955 strikeouts in 760 innings. At the time of his retirement his career strikeout rate — 10.8 per nine innings — was the best in the history of baseball for right-handed pitchers with at least 900 innings, edging out Kerry Wood and Pedro Martinez.

Castillo also played 15 seasons, with a career line of .290/.368/.351. He was a three-time All Star and won three Gold Glove awards.