Friday, May 3, 2013

Cardinals continue bullpen overhaul: Mitchell Boggs optioned, Carlos Martinez called up

After yesterday's outing in which he gave up two walks without retiring a batter, the Cardinals had seen enough of Mitchell Boggs and demoted him to AAA to sort out his issues.

To take his place, the Cardinals called up another one of their flame throwing prospects, Carlos Martinez, from AA Springfield.  Martinez, who had the start of his season delayed by visa issues, has only pitched 11.2 innings this season, posting a 2.31 ERA. 

Martinez, who can reach 100 mph with his fastball, will be following Trevor Rosenthal's career path.  After working as a starter throughout his minor league career, he will get his first taste of the big leagues as a reliever. 

It appears that the plan is for Martinez to be the 7th inning guy for the Cards, bridging the gap between the starters and the Trevor Rosenthal/Edward Mujica finishing combo.  If he succeeds in that role, it will hopefully allow Mike Matheny to reduce the workload on Rosenthal, who is on pace to pitch in 92 games.

Martinez certainly has the stuff to succeed in the pen.  In their 2012 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America stated that Martinez has the "ingredients to become a frontline starter or a closer." 

The concern here is that, like Rosenthal, Martinez could get pigeonholed into a relief role.  While not necessarily a bad thing, pitchers were their kind of stuff are generally more valuable if properly devloped as starters.

That said, this should be only a temporary role for Martinez, who could return to the minors to continue his development, once Boggs gets things sorted out.

In related bullpen news, it was announced today that Jason Motte will undergo Tommy John surgery next week.  Motte had been progressing with his throwing program before experiencing discomfort after throwing Friday.  I, for one, wish him a speedy recovery.

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