Report: Cardinals to sign Carlos Martinez to a five-year, $51 million contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and pitcher Carlos Martinez are nearing an agreement on a five-year, $51 million contract extension. An announcement is expected on Thursday.

Martinez, 25, is arbitration-eligible for the first time. He requested $4.25 million while the Cardinals countered at $3.9 million. The extension, of course, will help both sides avoid an arbitration hearing. According to Heyman, the $51 million contract will set a record for a player in his first year of arbitration eligibility.

Martinez has been nothing if not consistent, posting a 3.01 ERA in 2015 and a 3.04 ERA last season. He also went 16-9 with a 174/70 K/BB ratio over 195 1/3 innings. Among qualified starters, only Noah Syndergaard (97.9 MPH) and Yordano Ventura (96.1 MPH) had a higher average fastball velocity than Martinez’s 95.6 MPH.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.