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Reds are “all over” Dallas Keuchel

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Jon Heyman — who is an inner-circle “jazz up hot stove rumors with metaphors for negotiation” guy — reports that the Reds are “all over” free agent starter Dallas Keuchel.

What that actually means is far less important than us imagining team president Dick Williams and GM Nick Krall at some club, constantly dancing up toward where Keuchel and his friends are, getting pushier and pushier. “I can buy my own drink,” Keuchel says, rolling his eyes. Williams and Krall try to act casual while, really, they’re sorta spazzing out. It’s a process.

Still, as far as rumors go this is a fun one to think about. The Reds have a hard time attracting pitchers because they play in a bandbox. They may really want someone like Keuchel, though, because of his soft-contact/groundball abilities, so maybe they’ll wildly overpay. Does that make it any more pleasant for Keuchel to pitch in Cincinnati? Not necessarily, but it certainly could make life more pleasant when he’s not pitching. The general consensus is that he’s not quite the ace he was a couple of years ago. But what if the Reds pay him like one? It may be hard to say no to a big, big offer if the Reds are prepared to bring one.

Keuchel, 30, posted a 3.74 ERA and 153/38 K/BB ratio over 204.2 innings this past season with the Astros. At the moment, he’s single and looking. Can’t fault the Reds for at least trying to dance.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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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.