With the MLB already canceling the first two series of the 2022 season due to economic differences between the owners and players union, teams will have to wait on the second portion of free agency to open up. The New York Yankees failed to make any moves prior to the lockout, and they desperately need more support in the infield and within their starting pitching rotation.
Gaining back a healthy Luis Severino and Domingo German should provide a bit of support, but losing Corey Kluber opens up a void at the top of the rotation. The expectation is that the Yankees will make a move once free agency opens up, but they would likely try to supplement with a cost efficient player who’s coming off injury, which has been Brian Cashman’s strategy the past few seasons.
With that idea in mind, one option that stands out is former St. Louis Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, who is only 30 years old and heading into his 10th MLB season.
The past two years for Martinez have been shaky, posting a 9.90 ERA back in 2020 over a minimal sample size and a 6.23 ERA last year over 82.1 innings. Injury has held him back from being a consistent starter, but given a lengthy off-season to recover, the Yankees could help him revive his old self, who posted a 3.04 ERA back in 2016 over 195.1 innings.
Martinez features his fastball about 50% of the time, but his velocity dropped off significantly after 2019 when he was averaging 95.8 mph. Last year, he hovered around 93 mph, but the Yankees have had success revitalizing pitchers and their fastballs, notably relief arm clay Holmes.
Martinez also features a slider, curveball, and change-up. Theoretically, with the Yankees, I would expect Martinez to completely ax his curveball in favor of his fastball more predominantly, hoping to add a more velocity.
Given Martinez is coming off a problematic season with St. Louis, he’s still an incredibly talented player who could just need a change in scenery. Having made two All-Star appearances several years ago and factoring into St. Louis’s long-term plans in the rotation, he has quickly deteriorated. Ankle and thumb injuries plagued him last season after an impressive start, so there could be talent left to extract if Cashman looking for a high-risk-reward option on the market.