By Cameron Rohde
The Dominican Republic has gifted Major League Baseball with many outstanding talents over the years. The Cardinals were gifted with one of those talents in 6 foot, 185 pound, twenty five year old flamethrower Carlos Martinez. When Carlos made his major league debut on May 3, 2013, there was cause to believe the young electric Martinez would someday be the future anchor of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff. The future is now as Martinez and the Cardinals finalized a guaranteed 5 year, 51 million dollar contract. With two club options for the years 2022 and 2023, it would allow him to make a total of 86 million dollars throughout his contract. A deal was struck last night, a week before the two sides would of meet on opposite sides of the table at an arbitration hearing, as both parties had a mutual desire to come to an agreement. The signing of this deal allowed Martinez to be given the largest contract for a first time arbitration-eligible pitcher. Carlos joins a long list of Cardinals that included Matt Carpenter, Brett Cecil, recently signed Dexter Fowler, Jedd Gyorko, Mike Leake and Kolten Wong as players signed through the 2020 season. During his relatively short career Martinez is 34-21 with 492.2 inning pitched while striking out 466 batters and maintaining a 3.32 earn run average. He started his career in the bullpen and for two years became a premium relief pitcher in the game. But in 2015, he finally earned his spot in the rotation while being selected to his first All-Star game and hasn’t looked back. In 2016, Martinez had the best career of his year posting a 16-9 record throwing 195 innings while maintaining a 3.04 earned run average with 174 strikeouts. As Adam Wainwright continues to head down the decline stage of his career, it has allowed Martinez to become the undisputed ace of this rotation.
The road to containing his ace material form hasn’t always been easy. In 2015, he went through a life altering event. His best friend and Cardinal outfielder Oscar Taveras died on October 26th. This left a gaping hole on the team. Many players, but none more than Martinez, mourned the loss of his deepest friend. He pitched one of the most dominating games of his career.
Martinez stated during the formal signing of the deal that he is committed to the team, the city, and the fans hoping to play his whole career in St. Louis. It’s safe to say the Cardinals see a bright, young, and successful pitcher in Martinez.