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Red Sox sign Carlos Martínez to a minor-league deal

The former Cardinal has struggled the last couple of years.

St Louis Cardinals v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

As the Red Sox stumble through the first portion of their schedule here in 2022, it’s been the offense that has been the focus of the team’s woes, and justifiably so. But at the same time, they are still searching for the right mix of arms to take them through the season and hopefully back into contention. It’s probably too early to make trades of any consequence with most teams still feeling out what they have (and don’t have) this early in the season, but moves on the margins can still help in this respect. The Red Sox made one such move Saturday afternoon, signing former Cardinals starter Carlos Martínez to a minor-league deal. This news comes per the team’s transaction log, and a tip of the cap to Chris Hatfield of SoxProspects, who first surfaced the news on Twitter.

First off, it’s all a little bit strange because it was never even reported that he had been released by the Giants, with whom he signed prior to this season. Per his MLB page, he was released on April 28, but given his track record in the majors one would think that would have been at least aggregated somewhere. As far as I can tell, it has not. But I don’t know why the Red Sox official transaction page would lie, so I’m assuming this is something that is really happening.

As far as the pitcher himself, Martínez is in his age-30 season and has not pitched at any level to this point this year, though again I can not find any information about injury or anything else. He made his name as a young pitcher for the Cardinals, first coming up as a reliever in 2013 when, of course, St. Louis made it to the World Series before losing to the Red Sox. He shifted to the rotation in 2015 as a 23-year-old, and for a four-year stretch he looked like one of the best young arms in the National League, pitching to a 3.22 ERA over that stretch with a 3.58 FIP.

He’d then shift to the bullpen in 2019 for injury issues, and pitched well in that role, but then the last two seasons his performance has totally tanked alongside his ability to miss bats, though he’s also shifted back to the rotation in those seasons. I’ll be interested to see whether or not the Red Sox put him in the bullpen or the rotation, but the former makes more sense to me. He will be assigned to Triple-A Worcester, per his MLB page.