Carlos Martinez was the first starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals this spring, while that doesn’t mean much, could it be foreshadowing? Although not considered a rookie, Martinez has very limited experience at the major league level, including innings pitched. Will these factors help determine his role to start the season?
Let’s take a look at the three possible destinations for Carlos Martinez in 2014.
1. Starting Rotation of the St. Louis Cardinals
Many believe that Martinez would be best utilized pitching every 5th day along side Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, and Shelby Miller. He has nasty stuff that could shut down opponents two to three times through the lineup. In his minor league career, Martinez has 68 appearances, with 67 of them as a starting pitcher. While there are other options to take Jaime Garcia‘s spot to start the season, Martinez is the most dynamic and has the highest upside. A concern is a possible innings limit. The Cards have said he will most likely be placed on one as he only threw roughly 120 innings in 2013. Another thought is the Cardinals’ bullpen may need him more than the rotation. A very young and somewhat inexperienced ‘pen could use the flamethrower setting up Trevor Rosenthal.
2. Bullpen of the St. Louis Cardinals
As I mentioned in the first section, Martinez may be needed late in games. Do you trust second year players Kevin Siegrist, Seth Maness, and Trevor Rosenthal? Of course you do, but can we really expect a repeat of 2013? Also will Jason Motte be ready for Opening Day? It is looking less likely. Also what should we expect from Pat Neshek? Will Randy Choate continue his dominance against lefties (.179 BAA in 2013)? A lot of questions, and while Martinez isn’t exactly a veteran, he would be another solid arm late in games. This option would also limit his innings, but would we see the full C-Mart only pitching a couple of innings a week?
3. Starting Rotation of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds
The positives to this option include the ability to limit his innings while still sending him out there every 5th day. Also the Cardinals would delay his service time, thus pushing back a possible big payday. Also, Martinez could fine tune any command issues we may have seen at the end of the 2013 season while not making adjustments under the Busch Stadium lights. As I mentioned in last week’s poll question on where Oscar Taveras should start the season, if the big club is truly better with Martinez in either the starting rotation or the bullpen, he needs to be there. A farm system is not set up so the minor league teams can win championships. It is whatever is best for the big club.
So, you tell us, what role should Carlos Martinez have at the beginning of the 2014 season?
On Wednesday, we will share our thoughts on this poll question.