The Red Sox have released right-hander Carlos Martinez, reports Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Boston had signed the longtime Cardinals righty to a minor league deal earlier this month.
Martinez has now spent time with both the Giants and Red Sox organizations on minor league deals this year, although he didn’t pitch in a minor league game with the former as he finished up mending the thumb injury that ended his 2021 season. He took the mound for a pair of starts with Boston’s top affiliate in Worcester but was hammered for 10 runs on nine hits and a trio of walks in just 4 1/3 innings. He struck out just four of the 25 batters he faced (16%).
It’ll be the second brief stop for Martinez as he looks to make his way back to the big leagues. He’ll now search for a third organization this season, though it’s hard to imagine any club would place him directly on a big league roster after that showing with the WooSox and after he finished up the 2021 season with a 6.23 ERA, 15.7% strikeout rate and 9.9% walk rate in 82 1/3 frames.
That said, Martinez has a lengthy track record of big league success — and that alone ought to continue intriguing pitching-hungry clubs. From 2015-19 — Martinez’s age-23 through age-27 seasons — he was one of the best young pitchers in the National League. A two-time All-Star with the Cardinals during that run, Martinez compiled 747 innings of 3.22 ERA ball while striking out 23.7% of his opponents against an 8.9% walk rate. Martinez fronted the St. Louis rotation for much of that time but also spent a good portion of the 2019 season as the team’s closer, racking up 24 saves with a career-best 26.5% strikeout rate that season.
Injuries, however, have completely derailed the right-hander’s career in recent years. He only landed in the bullpen in 2019 after a spring shoulder injury delayed his season and led to concerns about his workload as a starter. He missed seven weeks of the shortened 2020 season with a lengthy bout of Covid-19 and suffered a strained oblique muscle quickly after returning to the field. Martinez’s 2021 campaign was a roller coaster when healthy — he fired eight shutout innings in a May 2 start and a month later was rocked for 10 runs in less than one inning — and last year’s season ended for him in July when he suffered a torn ligament in his pitching hand that ultimately required surgery.
Martinez ought to be able to get a look with another organization, but he’ll need to string together some good outings in Triple-A before he’s viewed as an option to return to the Majors.
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