Earlier this month, the Red Sox took what can probably best be described as a low-risk gamble by signing former Cardinals All-Star pitcher Carlos Martínez to a minor-league deal. It was not low-risk in the sense that it almost certainly would work out, but rather because the cost was so low that even if it didn’t work out there was not much of a loss beyond a minor-league roster spot. Well, it’s only been a short period of time but it has already not worked out. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported on Tuesday that the team had already cut ties with the right-handed pitcher, releasing him just two starts in to his tenure with the organization.
It’s certainly not a decision that came without merit as Martínez struggled mightily in his two starts. Only lasting 4 1⁄3 innings combined in the pair of outings, the 30-year-old allowed a whopping 10 earned runs, good (bad?) for a 20.77 ERA. He did strike out nearly a batter per inning, but that’s a lot easier to do when you’re facing an average of about six batters per inning, as evidenced by his mediocre 16 percent strikeout rate. Throw in a 12 percent walk rate, and it’s clear that nothing was really working for him.
Personally, I probably would have used him in a relief role rather than as a starter, as that is where most of his relatively recent major-league success had come. The Red Sox were hoping they could unlock something from him as a starter, which clearly did not work. That being said, given just how bad his performance was, and the implication that there was nothing to be fixed that can be gleaned from such a quick release, I very much doubt a shorter relief role would have gone much better.
For fans in the Worcester area, the replacement for Martínez should be much more exciting, with the top pitching prospect in the system, Brayan Bello, having just been promoted and getting set for his Triple-A debut on Wednesday.