The Cardinals and ace right-hander Carlos Martinez have less than a week before they head to arbitration. However, before that comes to pass, a long-term contract extension is likely, as Fox’s Ken Rosenthal reports.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports adds that the Cardinals are expected to announce Friday that Martinez has been signed to a five-year, $51 million extension. Such a deal would buy out two of Martinez’s free-agent years; hence, the significant investment involved.

Speaking of which …

Martinez, 25, is coming off a 2016 season in which he pitched to a 3.04 ERA and 2.49 K/BB ratio in 195 1/3 innings. Along the way, he registered a ground-ball percentage of 56.4. For his career, he owns an ERA+ of 118 across parts of four big-league seasons.

Now that Adam Wainwright has moved into his decline phase, Martinez has emerged as the undisputed ace of the St. Louis rotation. This deal reflects that reality.

Source: CBS Sports Headlines / MLB Hot Stove rumors: Cardinals reportedly near extension with Carlos Martinez