Carlos Martinez arrived this morning with a sling on. Things appear to be trending in the wrong direction for the now veteran starter. With all that is happening among the Cardinals pitching staff, there is a lot to keep up with right now.
If you are behind with some of the spring training buzz, take a look at the article I posted this morning. If you have not had the opportunity to read it, I highly recommend taking a look. It walks you through most of the current pitching situation for the St Louis Cardinals.
A Broken Wing, An Extension, and A Return to Form
Since this morning, a few items have been announced. Adam Wainwright is expected to be a starter this season. Adam also looks to be in good shape. He faced six batters today in his first Grapefruit League appearance of 2019, and was able to retire all six effectively.
Carlos Martinez received a second opinion on his shoulder this morning. Whatever the reason, he is not ready to be performing pitching duties at this time. It looks as if Carlos is at a minimum going to be delayed at taking a rotation spot, possibly on the Injured List, or in the bullpen to start the season. Mike Shildt reports that he received a Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy injection. The intent is to accelerate healing on his arm. He will remain on a no throwing program for at least two more weeks.
Finally, earlier today it was announced that the Cardinals have finalized a deal to extend Miles Mikolas. This is great news for the Cardinals. Miles joined the club last offseason after three seasons playing in Japan. Mikolas was the best starter in the rotation last season managing to have fewer walks (29) last season then he did starts (32).
The extension is expected to be announced at 4:30pm CST during a scheduled press conference. The terms of the extension appear to be four years and 68 million dollars.
So, What About Keuchel and Kimbrel?
Given the pitching depth of the Cardinals, the Martinez setbacks shouldn’t be a major cause for alarm. While some may say that we don’t have “proven” arms, there are certainly lots of options. The current depth is something that works heavily in our favor . Take a look at this tweet shared from Aaron earlier today:
Players who made a start for the Cardinals in 2018 Mikolas – 32 Flaherty – 28 Weaver – 25 Gant – 19 Martinez – 18 Wacha – 15 Gomber – 11 Wainwright – 8 Ponce De Leon – 4 Reyes – 1 Ross – 1 Team finished 5th in MLB rotation ERA Cardinals still have 9 of these players #STLCards
Sometimes it seems forgotten that John Gant made as many starts as he did last season. Given his situation, his experience, and his resume it is likely that he would be a major option to fill in for Carlos Martinez in the rotation.
Kimbrel and Keuchel are simply asking for too much of a contract given what the Cardinals currently have on the roster. Keuchel’s season last year was trending in the wrong direction. At this time, it doesn’t make sense to pursue him just because he is a Lefty. The Cardinals have lefty arms inside of the organization that are on the way up, and Keuchel just complicates that picture at this time.
Keuchel is also 31 years old and seeking a multi-year deal. Given the mistakes that the Front office has made extending these types of deals to starters in the past, it doesn’t seem like a “Cardinal’s” type move. A next man up approach seems to be the more likely option for the club at this time. In the event that Martinez is shut down for any significant amount of time, I wouldn’t expect to see them sign a free agent arm on anything more than a one-year deal.
Craig Kimbrel is a more intriguing option for the Club. The Closer role is wide open. A back-end of the bullpen featuring Hicks- Miller- Kimbrel is downright intimidating. It also seems unlikely to become a reality. The Cardinals have a surplus of arms, and Kimbrel is also seeking a multi-year deal. After the opening day signing of Greg Holland last season and the disaster that followed, it is also unlikely Kimbrel will be a Cardinal.
Updated Roster Predictions.
- Miles Mikolas
- Jack Flaherty
- Michael Wacha
- Adam Wainwright
Competing for Rotation Spots
- John Gant (out of options)
- Daniel Ponce De Leon
- Alex Reyes
- Austin Gomber (L)
- Dakota Hudson
- Mike Mayers (out of options)
Most likely in the Bullpen
- Jordan Hicks
- Andrew Miller (L)
- Brett Cecil (L)
- John Brebbia
- Dominic Leone
- Luke Gregerson
In the Hunt
- Ryan Helsley
- Chasen Shreve (L) (out of options)
- Genesis Cabrera (L)
*A player who is out of options cannot go back to the minors, if they do not make the roster, they are placed of waivers.
Possible closers- The closer role looks to be open to who impresses the club the most coming out of spring training.
- Jordan Hicks
- Andrew Miller
- Alex Reyes (this one is a long shot, but later in the season it’s a possibility)
- Dominic Leone
- Carlos Martinez