The Mets continue to win this offseason, as they add outfielder Jose Martinez to the mix.
After bringing a couple of big-time names into the mix, the New York Mets have turned to filling out their roster with a lesser know player, with big upside. The Mets agreed to a one year contract with outfielder Jose Martinez in a deal which works well for both parties involved.
First, the journey. Martinez was a late bloomer of sorts. Signed out of Venezuela by the Chicago White Sox at age 17, Martinez toiled in the minors, bouncing around three different organizations before making it to the majors.
Ten years after signing his first professional contract, Martinez reached the game’s highest level with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 16 at-bats he had seven hits and an OPS of 1.000. Over the next two full seasons, Martinez hit over .300 in nearly nine-hundred at-bats, proving he could hit big league pitching with regular playing time.
A down year in 2019 and he was traded, with Randy Arozarena, to the Tampa Bay Rays. His 2020 season split between Tampa and Chicago (Martinez was traded by the Cubs at the trade deadline) was forgettable, including going hitless during his entire tenure in the Windy City.
He was an easy non-tender candidate.
Next, the contract. A base salary of $1M if Martinez makes the Major League roster. $225K if Martinez is in the minor leagues. A win/win for both Martinez and the Mets. Martinez should make the team as the fourth outfielder, and can play at little first base as needed. If the Mets need to send him to the minors, they can. Martinez has two minor league options remaining.
Finally, the upside. Martinez is a career .289 hitter. Throw out his 2020 season and he is also a run producer. The downside is his defense, though Martinez is a hitter. He can fill in at the corner outfield positions and come out for a defensive replacement late in the game. In 98 career pinch hit appearances, he is hitting .306 with an OPS of .851. This is a guy the Mets will be thankful to have on the team.
Jose Martinez will end up being a diamond in the rough in this slow moving free agent market. He is a player a lot of teams are going to wish they had on their team, and the New York Mets snagged him for $1M. Well done.