After every season (dating back to 2012), we’ve spent time looking at every player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals that season. They might have gotten a couple of innings, they might have played every day, but if they played, they get a post. Usually, I like to term this like the players are packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. This year, of course, was anything but typical. So we’ll look at every player, we’ll take in some of their stats, but we won’t be giving out grades this season or delving too much into the positive/negative. There are just too many variables in the Year of COVID for that to be reasonable. As he has for the past few years, cardinalsgifs has lent his enormous talents to our header image and we thank him for it!
Player: Carlos Martinez
Season stats: 0-3, 9.90 ERA, 5 G, 20 IP, 32 H, 6 HR, 10 BB, 17 K, 6.89 FIP, 2.100 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, -1.2 bWAR
Postseason stats: DNP
Statcast: 6.6% barrel %, 88.5 exit velocity, 44.7% hard hit %, .358 xwOBA
Best Statcast category: Barrel % (56th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Whiff % (8th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Goat 2
On COVID IL: Yes
Overview: The same season is going to be approached differently depending on our thoughts on the pitcher, right? If Adam Wainwright had put up the line Carlos Martinez had, we’d not be worrying about whether he signs with another team but wondering when the retirement press conference was going to be. Jack Flaherty? Maybe a bit of a concern but probably write it off to the vagaries of the season, especially if he (like Martinez) had been seriously affected by COVID. Dakota Hudson? Most likely proof that the smoke and mirrors act was not going to work anymore.
Then there is Carlos, who actually did have to go to the hospital multiple times while he was dealing with this global pandemic-causing virus. How do we look at it with him? Do we understand that he might not have had his strength and never did get his feet under him? Do we give him some of the benefit of the doubt and think that maybe, with a longer season (and one that didn’t end in with an oblique strain) he could have righted the ship somewhat? Do we toss it all out and say that our expectation is he comes to 2021 camp (whenever that may be) assured of a spot in the rotation?
Or do we look at it through a different lens? Of course there are those that are going to complain about his focus and his dedication, even though he did nothing to deserve such criticism this year. But there are some reasonable concerns. Do we see that Carlos hasn’t been a very effective starter since the beginning part of 2018? Do we note that he turned 29 right before the season was over and is starting to age out of his prime?
For me, I feel like the best thing to do is to toss out what we saw this year due to the multiple variables and hope that Martinez can come to camp next year healthy and ready to return to the levels that we’ve seen him reach before.
Outlook: Martinez does have one year left on his contract and two option years. All of them are probably what you would call team friendly, at least in a normal market. It feels like the Cardinals have been open to trades for Martinez for a number of years, but it’s hard to see what the team could get for him now that would make it worth moving him. The best they could hope for, if they did really want to move him, was for him to have a good April and May next year and they could move him then, after he’d rebuilt some of his value. I would be very surprised if Martinez isn’t the fourth starter in next year’s rotation to begin the year.