ST. LOUIS, Mo. (BaseballStL) -- The second it was reported St. Louis native – and Mizzou alum – Max Scherzer was agreeing to a record-breaking 7-year deal worth $210 million it became quite clear why the Cardinals were never a real suitor for his services.
That’s just not how the Cards do business.
What does this mean? Well, for one, it also means Detroit absolutely won’t be trading David Price. The only reason Price could have been available is if the Tigers got Scherzer back, thus the need to shed some salary. But obviously that’s not happening anymore.
Cole Hamels? It looks like Philadelphia may want too much, as good as he is.
All along Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said he was willing to go into the 2015 season with his current crop of starting pitchers (maybe adding someone for depth purposes but no more) and seeing what he has. Translation: they want to see what Carlos Martinez does as a full time starter without getting yanked from a bullpen role midseason.
The 23-year old flamethrower said this weekend at the Winter Warm-Up he believes the starting spot vacated by Shelby Miller’s trade to Atlanta is his. He’s been waiting for this opportunity. And now is his time to shine.
If things aren’t working out with him – or if there are other needs in the rotation created by Adam Wainwright’s elbow or Michael Wacha’s shoulder or something else entirely – then Mozeliak can always look to make a deal at the July 31st trade deadline just like he did a year ago when he acquired John Lackey from Boston and Justin Masterson from Cleveland.
Heck, maybe Hamels will still be in play by then. Who knows?
But for a few years now Cardinals fans have been hearing how Martinez (and I suppose Shelby Miller for that matter) was the crown jewel of the pitching prospects in the organization. 2013 offered a glimpse of his potential greatness when he came up at age 21 and took the baseball world by storm by dominating the postseason en route to a National League title and World Series appearance.
2014 was a weird year for C-Mart. He pitched better than Joe Kelly in spring training but was sent to the bullpen anyway to start the season. After a solid April he completely fell apart in May (7.11 ERA and .300 opponents’ batting average). June was better but July was not (6.20 ERA, .341 opponents’ average). Those were the two months he was given a shot to start.
But by then his mojo had been thrown off. Martinez was arguably overworked early in the season by Mike Matheny. For some reason he couldn’t get a lefty out to save his life. Left-handed hitters had an average 53 points higher than righties against him (.297 to .244).
The talent is there. We all know it. And the Cardinals are hedging their bet in 2015 that Martinez is going to blossom as one of the game’s best young pitchers.