the dump's sportslog - baseball analysis
Bam-Tino goes home
Devil Rays get: Tino Martinez.
Cardinals get: Evan Rust, a player to be named and a bunch of cash.
As a Yankee fan, there will always be a place in my heart for Tino Martinez. Though he replaced one of the most beloved Yankees of all-time (and my personal favorite by a wide margin in Don Mattingly), he won the fan base over with his professionalism and more importantly, his solid play and role on four championship teams. While certainly not a Hall-of-Famer or all-time Yankee legend, Martinez has had a really nice, productive career which he's managed to parlay into his current absurd contract.
While Martinez isn't a guy you want playing first base every day on a team that could reasonably contend like the Cardinals (particularly given the money he's making), I still don't see how this makes a ton of sense for St. Louis. While it'd be nice to get the $8.5 million he's due over the remainder of the contract off the books, the Cardinals are picking up $7 million of it as part of the deal and are getting basically nothing back. Never heard of Evan Rust? That's because just about nobody had before this trade was announced. He's a non-descript 25-year old minor league reliever with virtually no prospects of ever being a factor at the major league level. His numbers this past season at AA Orlando and AAA Durham were fine, and it seems conceivable that the Cardinals could give him a shot at some point...but he's unlikely to have a major impact. This appears to be a pure contract dump (we'll have to see who the PTBNL is, I suppose), which would be fine...if, of course, the contract was actually being dumped. It's really not - the Cardinals are just going to be paying Tino to play for the Devil Rays. From Tampa's perspective, you'd like to think they could do a bit better than importing a moderately productive soon-to-be 36-year old, but for $1.5 million, I guess it's a risk you can afford to take.
The Devil Rays went with Travis Lee at first most of last year, and while Tino isn't likely to stick for any length of time, Lee probably wasn't a long term solution either (because he's just not that good), and he's gone now.