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Carpenter, Martinez officially free agents as Cardinals decline options

Two of the longest-tenured Cardinals are officially free agents after the team declined options on Matt Carpenter and Carlos Martinez

ST. LOUIS — The expected day has arrived for the Cardinals. Third baseman/utilityman Matt Carpenter and pitcher Carlos Martinez are officially free agents.

The team declined their options for 2022 and the pair was added to the free agent pool Thursday.

Carpenter and Martinez joined pitchers Luis Garcia, J.A. Happ, Kwang Hyun Kim, Wade LeBlanc, Jon Lester, TJ McFarland and Andrew Miller as free agents.

Both Carpenter and Martinez have been with the Cardinals their entire careers.

The Cardinals drafted Carpenter in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of TCU. In 11 seasons in St. Louis, Carpenter hit .262 with a .816 OPS, 155 home runs and 576 RBI in 1,329 games. Carpenter was a three-time All-Star, 2013 Silver Slugger and played seven regular season games for the 2011 World Series champion team. Carpenter also has the sixth-most walks in Cardinals history.

Carpenter's production plummeted in recent seasons. Since the start of 2019, Carpenter has a .203 average, .671 OPS, 22 home runs and 91 RBI over 303 plate appearances. In 2021 in a utility role, Carpenter hit .169 with three home runs in 249 plate appearances.

In 2019, Carpenter signed a two-year, $39 million contract extension with the Cardinals.

Martinez has been with the Cardinals since the team signed him as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2010.

He made his debut with the team in 2013, originally operating as a reliever. In nine years with the Cardinals he saw himself move into the starting rotation and then a brief stint as closer in 2019. Martinez has been a two-time All-Star with a career 62-52 record and a 3.74 ERA.

Martinez has also struggled in the past two years. Since the beginning of 2020, Martinez has gone 4-12 in 21 starts with a 6.95 ERA while allowing almost 10 hits per nine innings. He has also struggled with injuries as of late, including one that ended his 2021 season in July.

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