In light of Joe Kelly’s strained hamstring stemming from an attempted bunt for a hit and subsequent trip to the disabled list, many are calling for electric reliever Carlos Martinez to be moved into the starting rotation. It’s a logical thought considering the Cardinals admit Martinez will eventually become a starter.
At some point.
But that point is not now. Follow the logic here. When Mike Matheny announced Kelly would be the team’s 5th starter at the end of spring training he did so by pointing out that the Cardinals needed Martinez in the bullpen to start the year. He also said it would be a good way to save his innings for later on in the season when he’d have more left in the tank.
Moving Martinez to the rotation now would essentially stomp on both of those reasons.
The bullpen is still unsettled. Aside from Trevor Rosenthal (who, let’s face it, is still working out the kinks early on) and Kevin Siegrist, there really isn’t a whole lot that Matheny trusts in late inning situations. Yes, Pat Neshek has pitched admirably thus far and Randy Choate is still doing his thing against lefties.
But if you take Martinez out of that bullpen then you could be faced with the problem the Cardinals had to start 2013. Lots of blown leads.
Also, moving Martinez now would do nothing as far as saving his innings. The whole reason they did this was to make sure he didn’t get overworked early on in 2014. You would essentially pack on the innings now and need to give him a rest at some point later on.
That’s what the Cards were trying to avoid.
Now, if Kelly’s DL stay turns out to be an extensive one then the Cards certainly could revisit the idea of moving him into the rotation and dealing with the consequences. But if it’s not, then you’d just get a couple starts from Martinez and then be forced with the same issue you had at the end of spring.
Martinez would need to be backed off and turned into a late inning reliever again. What’s the point in starting him on the path to being a starter only to abandon that thought a couple weeks later?
Carlos Martinez’s time will come. There is no doubt about that. Before the season is over he will have started a lot of games for the Redbirds. When will that process begin? That’s anyone’s guess. But it’s coming.
There’s no doubt about that.