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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Why Carlos Martinez Cannot be Traded

With the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals reporting to spring training, the subject of Oscar Taveras’ tragic death is again front and center. While memorializing the late outfielder is on the minds of some, the club is also reinforcing with Taveras’ teammates the importance of sound decision-making when drinking is involved.

The entire subject of how to properly remember Taveras remains touchy with fans, with strong opinions on both poles and of course, most residing somewhere in the middle.

That is not the reason for this post, however. It is being driven by an ongoing discussion on The Cardinal Nation message board about whether or not Carlos Martinez should be traded for Cole Hamels.

Like every issue, there are many points of view, primarily focused on the potential on-field impact in 2015 and beyond. However, one poster took it in a slightly different direction.

He/she brought up the x-factor of how the emotion surrounding the loss of Taveras might impact his very close friend Martinez on the field during the 2015 season, potentially the right-hander’s first as a regular member of the rotation. Will it fuel Martinez, distract him or be a non-factor?

That is when it came home to me why Martinez cannot be traded right now. He is the symbol of the Cardinals mourning for their fallen teammate, down to wearing Taveras’ number 18 on his uniform this season.

What signal would it send to the Cardinals team and its fan base for the front office to ship Martinez away in trade before the club plays a single post-Taveras game – before they once take the Busch Stadium turf wearing “OT” memorial patches on their uniforms?

I believe the wounds are still too fresh to consider it, even if a prospective deal might make sense to the Cardinals from a business perspective.

Those who have read my writing over the years know I usually scoff at the idea of these kinds of factors impacting business decisions that have the potential for a multi-million dollar impact, but this case is different, very different.

At this point, I simply do not believe the Cardinals can trade Carlos Martinez.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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10 Responses to “Why Carlos Martinez Cannot be Traded”

  1. blingboy says:

    Suppose we agree he cannot be traded before opening day for the reasons you state. How soon after that would it become possible? (Not that I think he will be).

    Also, I have been meaning to ask if you are at all surprised the Cards re-issued uni No 25?

    • Brian Walton says:

      Not this season. Maybe when the OT patches are gone. (This is all just my gut feel.)

      Not surprised at all on #25. I started a longer reply, but decided instead that it will be my blog post for tomorrow. Thanks for the idea!

  2. blingboy says:

    I agree he will not be traded this season, but think that was the case all along.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I did too, but many did/do not feel that way. Just like me, you read the message board posters anxious to make the trade because they think Hamels will be the difference in winning the World Series. I would hope this is the trump card to convince them Martinez isn’t going anywhere.

      Though in all fairness, in a business-as-usual setting, I doubt anyone is completely untouchable – even guys with no-trade clauses. You never want to tie your hands in case someone makes a really crazy offer. Highly unlikely, yes. Impossible, no.

  3. blingboy says:

    I was thinking about Mike’s comment that he wanted Adams to be able to bunt for hits like Rizzo did against us last season. It worked for Rizzo, after doing it twice we stopped putting on the exaggerated shift.

    But I got thinking, well, if Castro hadn’t hit the two run homer after one of those bunts maybe we would have just kept on shifting and let their power hitting first baseman bunt all he wanted. So it is not as simple as Adams bunting. He has to execute and actually get on base. Then he has to come around and score. The shift has to cost them in other words. Otherwise, it is basically taking a power bat out of the lineup.

    So what are the chances Mike has thought of that?

    I think we will get some insight into that by seeing who is hitting behind Adams when he is called on to bunt. In the case of Rizzo it was Castro, the Cubs cleanup hitter. It was quite rational to give up Rizzo’s potential damage as a power hitter for the at bat with the clean up hitter up next. The shift was not going to be a good idea if it kept putting a man on with Castro due up, as was proven by the two run shot. My fear is that Mike has not thought it out and will accomplish nothing other than taking Adams power threat away on occasion.

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