Texas Rangers sign reliever Chris Martin to two year contract

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: Chris Martin
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: Chris Martin /

The Texas Rangers made an interesting under the radar signing on Monday, inking reliever Chris Martin to a two year contract.

The Texas Rangers had their sights set on signing a pitcher from the Nippon Ham Fighters this offseason. They had even made the final cut as one of the seven teams that Shohei Otani considered, before his surprising decision to join the Los Angeles Angels. Undeterred, the Rangers set their sights on another pitcher from Nippon Ham, signing reliever Chris Martin to a two year contract worth $4 Million.

Martin hardly seems like the type of signing that Rangers fans would be excited about. He had spent parts of two seasons in the majors before heading to Japan, albeit with limited success. In his 40 appearances spanning 36.1 innings with the Colorado Rockies and New York Yankees, Martin posted a 6.19 ERA and a 1.645 WHiP, striking out 32 batters while issuing 10 walks. Although his strikeout to walk rate was solid, Martin was hit hard, allowing a .318/.363/.471 batting line.

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His fortunes changed after being released by the Yankees following the 2015 campaign. Martin signed with Nippon Ham, and put together an excellent two year run. In his 92 games spanning 88.1 innings, he posted a 1.32 ERA and a 0.668 WHiP. Martin displayed excellent command, striking out 91 batters while issuing only 13 walks.

With the Rangers looking for a closer for the 2018 campaign, Martin may emerge as a dark horse in the race for saves. He did save 22 games in Japan over his two seasons, serving as the Fighters closer in 2015. If his success can translate to the majors, that two year contract could end up as a bargain.

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The Texas Rangers have added a pitcher from the Nippon Ham Fighters. Even if Chris Martin is not Shohei Otani, he could still prove to be a bargain for the Rangers.