J.D. Martinez finalizes $12 million, 1-year contract with the New York Mets

Sat, Mar 23, 2024
MLB News (AP)

J.D. Martinez finalizes $12 million, 1-year contract with the New York Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - J.D. Martinez and the New York Mets finalized a $12 million, one-year contract on Saturday.

The 36-year-old designated hitter gets a $2.5 million signing bonus, $2 million this year and $7.5 million in deferred money, payable in $1.5 million installments each Jan. 15 from 2034-38.

To open a roster spot, the Mets designated right-hander Phil Bickford for assignment.

Martinez hit .271 with 33 homers and 103 RBIs in just 113 games last year for the Los Angeles Dodgers, providing solid value on the one-year, $10 million contract he signed before the season. Back and groin problems limited his availability, but he added a National League All-Star selection to the five times he made it in the AL with Detroit and Boston.

He slots into the middle of the Mets' lineup and gives them another power hitter to pair with Pete Alonso. Both can become free agents after this season.

New President of Baseball Operations David Stearns had insisted the Mets wanted to give youngsters Mark Vientos and Brett Baty plenty of at-bats this season rather than bring in a veteran at DH or third base. But now Martinez becomes the primary DH instead of Vientos, who could still share playing time at third with Baty, getting chances against left-handed pitching in particular.

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Martinez has played the corner outfield spots only sparingly the past two seasons, but he has given every indication he can be a productive DH. Last season was the first time in Dodgers history the team had four players with 100 RBIs, with Martinez joining Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy.

The 33 home runs for Martinez were his most since 2019, and his OPS of .893 represented his highest since that year.

Martinez began his career with Houston but blossomed after being released by the Astros and picked up by the Tigers in 2014. He hit a career-high 45 homers for Detroit and Arizona in 2017, then joined the Red Sox and hit 43 the following year, when Boston won its most recent World Series title.

Martinez was one of the top free agents left on the market. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery - another Scott Boras client - is still looking for a new team in the final days of spring training.

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