Carlos Martinez made a name for himself last postseason. With his hair popping out of his hat and a baby face, he made appearances as another guy who throws in the mid-90′s out of the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen. He was particularly impressive in the National League Championship Series, where he made four scoreless appearances.
Here’s the crazy part: the Cardinals might not even view Martinez as a reliever. This winter he is pitching as a starter, and this morning Derrick Gold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provided an update on how things are going:
In his Dec. 20 start, Martinez struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings, and in his first start — six days earlier — he struck out two and pitched two innings. He did not allow an earned run in either outing, and has permitted only three baserunners (all on hits) in 6 1/3 innings.
Then Gold notes that, even with his impressive arsenal and his success this winter, there still might not be room for him in the Cardinals’ rotation. The point? Their pitching staff will be stacked again:
The Cardinals have five starters returning – Adam Wainwright, Miller, Kelly, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn – and lefty Jaime Garcia set to go after shoulder surgery. Martinez, Seth Maness, et. al., may come to spring training as starters, but could soon find themselves in the bullpen, where they finished 2013.
Even with teams spending a record amount in free agency this winter, the defending NL champs have been pretty quiet. The Cardinals made an understated move when they traded David Freese for Peter Bourjos and signed second baseman Mark Ellis, but the commotion around them is minimal. So there might not be hype, but with their usual stockpile of arms, they will be poised to contend once again.