If Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez is Available, the Padres Should be Interested

Credit: AP Photo

The St. Louis Cardinals may or may not make RHP Carlos Martinez available for trade. If the team does, in fact, put the Dominican hurler on the block, the San Diego Padres will surely have some interest in the pitcher.

In a recent piece by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the St. Louis Cardinals could be exploring trading Carlos Martinez.

If the right-handed pitcher is made available, the San Diego Padres will surely kick the tires. As they should.

A few weeks ago, St. Louis fired Mike Matheny as their manager after seven years with the team. The firing was viewed as an attempt to save the Cardinals’ season, which has been a disappointment thus far. The Cardinals are currently 53-52 and eight full games behind the Chicago Cubs. They also have Milwaukee and Pittsburgh ahead of them in the standings. I know their record doesn’t seem like a failure, but there were some concerns about the clubhouse and if Matheny had lost it completely.

With the team falling further out of contention, will they make moves in the next few days?

Trading a pitcher like Carlos Martinez could be viewed as desperate, but the Cardinals could get a great haul in return for the pitcher. Martinez is signed through the 2021 season at $11.7 million per year and then holds two option years for 2022 ($17 million) and 2023 ($18 million). That is a bargain rate for a pitcher who actually could be considered an ace. There are arguably only a handful of pitchers who could be categorized as that. Martinez has tremendous upside and we have arguably yet to see the best from him.

The 26-year-old Dominican pitcher came off the DL on Monday after reporting an oblique issue during his last start. He looks to be healthy now, but has battled injuries two different times this year. The first was a right lat strain that sidelined him a few weeks. That is a bit concerning for a team looking to acquire his services, but his talent is certainly real.

Martinez holds a career record of 52-37 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.282 WHIP. Walks have always been an issue for this pitcher and he has set a career-high walk per/9 rate of 4.7 this year. It is amazing that he is successful with as many free passes as he allows. Part of the reason for his success is that he doesn’t give up hits. In 788 career innings, he has given up only 714 hits. That helps offset his base on balls issue, but can you imagine his worth and potential if he consistently threw strikes? He could be a perennial All-Star and a pitcher worth building around. Darren Balsley, anyone?

Credit: AP Photo

The Cardinals would expect a huge return, and they may get it from someone. A Chris Sale-type of return is what is expected to be gained for St. Louis if they choose to trade him. The Red Sox paid the Chicago White Sox a hefty price in late 2016 for Sale.  Yoan Moncada, Michael KopechLuis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz were who Boston sent to Chicago. Moncada was viewed as the No. 1 prospect in baseball at the time, Kopech was viewed as the No. 67 at the time, and Basabe was within the Red Sox top eight, but outside the top 100. Diaz was a late addition, but a very appealing prospect himself.

Four decent prospects is what the Cardinals will probably shoot for in return for Martinez. Two of the prospects will probably need to be in the top 100 in all of baseball. The San Diego Padres have the prospects to pay that kind of asking price, but is now the time to make such a bold move?

For starters, in a potential deal, the team might need to give up Fernando Tatis, MacKenzie Gore, Francisco Mejia, or Luis Urias. That right there might very well be a deal breaker. Those four are considered about as untouchable as it gets within the Padres’ system. Carlos Martinez is that good though. To get a proven commodity, sometimes you have to pay the price.

The Cardinals have no need to deal him presently. They are just weighing their options. All this talk could be nothing more than to gauge his value if they choose to go down that road eventually. For now, it appears the Red Birds will keep their young ace. But anything can happen in the next 48 hours.

If the Padres package several prospects (not including the big four) then they could possibly get something done. The team would have to give up a few big names though. Players like Michel Baez, Chris Paddack, Adrian Morejon, and Anderson Espinoza would be a painful loss. But it is going to take a couple of prospects like that to even get negotiations started.

There could be some interest on both sides here for a deal, but now may not be the best time. This is something that could come up again in the offseason. At that point, both team might have a better idea of what they need to accomplish a trade. Stay tuned, though. Preller is savvy and anything can happen when it comes to his quest to bring the San Diego Padres back to relevancy.

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13 thoughts on “If Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez is Available, the Padres Should be Interested

  1. If Martinez was on most other teams, sure… maybe… your logic is sound. But the Cards are one of the best teams in sports in regards to talent evaluation and player development. If they’re making him available, it’s “buyer beware”. For me, it’s similar to a Chris Archer situation. The Rays are also quite good in those categories (the Pads are definitely not) so either way, I see us getting our asses handed to us in a trade.

  2. Martinez just left his most recent start with a shoulder strain. Padres should stay put. Tatis and Gore should be untouchable. By the time the hot talent lava is ready to compete the Padres should go out and pay for a young controllable arm that is available. It is a given that not all prospects will be major leaguers. Preller has stated that having a great farm system helps down the road when making trades. Now it’s not the time. I would like to see the Padres include Knix, Spangenberg, Getty’s in a Ross, Yates or Stammen trade so we could get a better return. It would open up a roster spots in the 40 man roster.

  3. I am still not sure now is the time for the Padres to dive into the high end starting pitching market, but I would personally have a lot more interest in Martinez than I would Archer. Of course the return would also be higher, but the results would also be better. It will be interesting to see if any of this talk turns into something or if it all just fades away. The Padres could again be a big player at the winter meetings in December, lets hope the results are better this time around.

    1. Agreed Dustin but we’re gonna get killed in that trade. The Cards are simply better at this stuff. Lol look at Jon Jay coming here and Jedd Gyorko going there for example. If the Cards are unloading someone, there’s a good reason. Id like to trade for their player personnel developers, then we’d have a minor leagues that developed something. I hope they’re active in the winter too, I’m honestly hoping more for a veteran bat that can fill the 3, 4, or 5 spot. Time to move on from a few of these “AAAA” space savers like Spangy, Janko, Renfroe, and possibly Margot.

      1. The thing with the Jay/Gyorko trade is, if Jay hadn’t broken his wrist, he would have brought back a nice prospect or two at the deadline. He was having a very good season when he got hit by that pitch. And I agree, the players/prospects dealt will be a lot harder for Padres fans to stomach, but the results from Martinez compared to Archer should make it easier in the long run. And again, I’m still not sure this is the time for the Padres to enter this market.

  4. I much prefer Carlos Martinez than Archer. I would not include Paddack, but would give the Cardinals a choice between Morejon and Gore as the headliner. Morejon/Gore, Baez, Ruiz, Ona for Carlos Martinez. I really like the control through 2023 plus he is a righthander. Having Martinez as the Padres #1 through 2023 would be awesome. I sure hope we don’t trade any prospects that would jeopardize our chances at getting a guy like this.

  5. Nice article. Not sure now is the time, but I certainly would be interested in exploring potential options. In this case tho, we should consider that he may be so effective because he doesn’t throw strikes- as in his wildness is what makes him so effective. It might be a bigger gamble to try to change him in that regard.

  6. Lets face it! The Padres are a joke. They have been for a long time. Baseball is the greatest sport in the world but the Padres are unwatchable. Most of their players can’t make the necessary adjustments to be successful. All the talent in the world in the minors but can’t compete at the major league level. Their only strength is the bullpen so what do they do. They trades away that strength for more minor league talent. Simply pathetic. I bet real major league players like Ellis and Hosmer have serious doubts about signing with San Diego. They trade away the heart of the team in Solarte and now they need a third baseman. They trade away Gyrko and we still need a second baseman. Now they may trade Urias and he will undoubtedly become an All-Star. Unless they are actually trying to lose, they are a complete failure. I’m so tired of seeing Green put on the shift and the opposing players beating it. There is no hope. Very sorry to say.

    1. Matt – it’s okay. There’s still Taco Tuesday and beer at Mission Brewery before the game.
      Revel in the fact that some Padres will soon be on a championship team (just not the Pads)

    2. I agree the Padres are a sorry team this year. But a 37 year old backup catcher wasn’t going to have much of a market, and Hosmer did not have one other offer. They don’t regret signing those contracts, in fact Hosmer must laugh every time he gets his deposit slip, thinking “Boras was right!”
      Solarte is a so-what player and exactly the type who gets traded by a rebuilding team, and Gyorko had a reputation for a bad attitude, again one of those a rebuilding team needs to clear out.

    3. I love my Padres but you are right. Preller’s learning curve hasn’t involved major league contracts, development of high-minor players, psychology, or identity. He’s collecting prospects but I don’t hold out hope for most of them. His track record so far is awful in getting position players productive in the majors. Without Balsley, it would all be a complete waste. I’m happy Hosmer got paid but the logic that he’s going to be a Steve Garvey type is only logical in terms of offensive stats. Preller needs to add a lot more veteran talent and a coaching staff that knows what the hell they’re doing. That won’t happen. He likes his “yes men”.

  7. I would agree that it is nearing the time to looking at trading some set of prospects for an ace level starter. Martinez doesn’t look like that type unless Balsley and company can identify a flaw that can be corrected. In any event, the price paid for Sale was appropriate given the talent. Paying a slightly lesser price for one of the two Mets studs would seem so as well. St. Louis expecting a similar package is an unreasonable expectation.

    We will need to do something like this in the off season to prevent losing prospects to Rule 5. I would like to see us aim higher than Carlos Martinez as our ace.

    If Darren Balsley isn’t one of the highest paid pitching coaches, that should be corrected immediately.

    1. Agreed. The Rule 5 protection really shouldn’t be that tough though and a huge trade isn’t that urgent.. Spangenberg and Jankowski have to go (DFA them if all else fails) and Renfroe and Margot should be moved for some Single A prospects. I know people don’t like that idea but the Pads obviously can’t fix Renfroe’s swing and Margot plays like Jekyl and Hyde (if he’s healthy or even aware of what’s going on). Those two are floundering. So, free up those four spots to start and that’s a decent beginning. Keep in mind they have other wastes of space like Hughes and Makita doing nothing… and if I’m not mistaken, Bryan Mitchell is still hanging around (ouch).

      Personally, I’d consider moving Hedges if it comes down to it. Good catching defense is great but this isn’t a club that can give away the 8 and the 9 hole in every turn of the lineup… PS Great call on Balsely, he’s the only tangible reason why Preller even looks like a decent GM at this point. Our “prospects” over the last five years have been basically crap on the offensive side of the ball so I’m not buying this wonderboy GM shit until he actually produces a few consistent major leaguers.

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