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.