The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are close to a deal that would send Tino Martinez to the Devil Rays for a minor league pitcher. Given the seemingly one-sided nature of the deal, it’s safe to assume that this is a cost-cutting move for the Cardinals, though they’re not cutting much costs. St. Louis will still pay Martinez $6-million of the $7.5-million his contract calls for in 2004. The Cardinals will likely get 23year old Dewon Brazelton or 25-year old Jason Standridge. In six seasons with the Yankees, Martinez was as productive as anyone, averaging 29 homers and 115 RBI’s over six seasons. But in St. Louis those averages dipped to 18 homers and 77 RBI’s in two seasons with the Cardinals. The move will probably make Albert Pujols the full-time first baseman. Who takes over in left field will be determined by other off-season moves.
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