Report: Cardinals reach five-year contract extension with Carlos - KMOV.com

Cardinals reach five-year contract extension with Carlos Martinez

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St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez pitches against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson) St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez pitches against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

St. Louis, our long, local nightmare is over.

The Cardinals have reached an agreement with Carlos Martinez for a five-year, $51 million contract extension. The announcement was made Thursday at Busch Stadium.

The team drew ire from the fanbase for its stated intention last month to take Martinez to a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for Feb. 8. Many considered the difference in filing numbers–$3.9 million by the Cardinals, $4.25 million by Martinez–far too insignificant an amount over which to squabble with the ace of the starting rotation.

Now, it appears it won't have to come to that.

The reported value of the Martinez extension shatters the previous record for a first-year arbitration eligible pitcher, Corey Kluber's five-year $38.5 million deal signed in April of 2015. FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman says the deal will pay Martinez $4.5 million this year (including a signing bonus) before jumping up to $11.5 million in 2018, a particularly rapid increase.

Rumors of a possible extension had publicly calmed in recent weeks, but it made sense for both sides to pursue the deal. For Martinez, it offers tremendous financial security for a player whose previous high salary was capped at $539,000. For the Cardinals, it locks up one of the most dynamic young pitching talents in the sport, at a price that won't approach the absurd rates Martinez could have theoretically commanded via free agency after the 2019 season.

At Winter-Up last month, Martinez said he wanted to be a Cardinal for life. This new deal will keep him in birds on the bat until 2021–at the least. The deal includes two team options, which could ensure Martinez remains in St. Louis until 2023.

2017 is the first year of arbitration eligibility for Martinez, so the extension will buy out each of his arbitration eligible years, as well as two additional years for which Martinez would have been eligible for free agency.

Martinez, 25, was a bright spot in a disappointing 2016 campaign for the Cardinals, posting a 16-9 record with a 3.04 ERA in 195 and 1/3 innings.

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