You could make a case that over the past two seasons Jose Martinez has been the Cardinals' most consistent offensive player.

The guy can just flat out hit.

Entering 2019, it looks like Martinez will start the season on the bench, though, with Dexter Fowler slated to get the early shot at starting in right field and new addition Paul Goldschmidt anchoring first base.

The Cardinals didn't overlook the consistency of Martinez when it comes to their pocketbook, though. The club decided to give him a $3.25 million raise to 2020 during spring training and lock up the locker room favorite for the foreseeable future.

It was music to Martinez's ears, who said he's just happy to be "back with his family".

Martinez was either first or second in nearly every major offensive category for the Cardinals in 2018.

But as an outfielder last season, Martinez still left much to be desired.

His total defensive runs saved as an outfielder was an abysmal -6, and he wasn't much better at first base, with a -5 DRS total at that position.

Jose said in our interview with him at spring training he knows his defense has to improve, and he's ready to do whatever it takes for the Cardinals to be comfortable with him in the field.

The bottom line is simple when it comes to the right field spot for the Cardinals in 2019.

Dexter Fowler and his big contract will get a legitimate shot to bounce back from the worst season of his career in 2018, but there are two above average options in Martinez and Tyler O'Neill breathing down his neck.

The Cardinals will work Martinez into the lineup a decent amount no matter what happens with Fowler of course, but if Dexter has a rough first few weeks with the club, fans will be clamoring for the effervescent Martinez to take over for good.

He's already more than proved he's up to the challenge.

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