The Mariners are not ready to announce anything about the big deal they have in the works, but they have announced a little deal: they have acquired catcher Omar Narvaez from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for reliever Alex Colome.
Colome, who might’ve become the Mariners closer if he had stayed in light of the impending Edwin Diaz deal, pitched in 70 games between time with the Rays and Mariners last season, posting a 3.04 ERA and 72 strikeouts against 22 walks in 68 innings. He’s in line for a raise in arbitration this winter, however, and the tearing-down Mariners obviously want no part of that.
Narvaez hit well in 2018, with a line of .275/.366/.429 with nine home runs over 322 plate appearances. He’s a poor pitch-framer, but he’ll likely have the inside track to become the M’s starting catcher next season.
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.