Details On Nick Martinez’s New Contract With Padres

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Nick Martinez opted out of his Padres contract at the end of the offseason but he and the club agreed to a new deal last week. The club made it official today by announcing the deal, and Dennis Lin of The Athletic added some more information about the incentives.

As a recap, it’s technically a three-year, $26MM deal but with a convoluted structure. Martinez will get a $10MM base salary in 2023, which is the straightforward part. After that, the club will have to decide whether or not to trigger two $16MM club options for 2024 and 2025, essentially a two-year, $32MM extension. If they decline, Martinez will get to decide whether or not to trigger two player options valued at $8MM each, essentially a two-year, $16MM extension. Since player options are considered guaranteed, that $16MM option and the $10MM base in 2023 combine to form a $26MM guarantee.

Adding some extra layers of complication are the incentives that Lin outlines, which reflect the uncertain role Martinez will play going forward. He started 2022 in the rotation but eventually got bumped to the bullpen, with his new contract seemingly accounting for a similar trajectory in 2023. Martinez will get paid based on games started, earning an extra $500K at 10, 15, 20 and 25 starts. In terms of relieving, he’ll get $100K at 10 appearances and 20 appearances, $200K at 30, 40, 50 and 60 appearances. For games finished, he will get $200K each at 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 finishes.

That’s technically $4.4MM in available incentives, though there’s no way Martinez unlocks all of those. For instance, if he makes 25 starts, he’s unlikely to trigger many of the relief incentives, since a healthy pitcher will make about 32-33 starts over a full season. However, this contract allows Martinez to continue increasing his earnings whether he’s starting or relieving, so long as he’s healthy.

The aforementioned option values can also change, as Lin adds that there are escalators based on Martinez hitting certain innings totals, making the All-Star team or finishing in the top 10 in Cy Young voting. Those details aren’t publicly known at this time.

Going forward, the Friars have Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish and Blake Snell taking up the first three spots in the rotation. Martinez is a candidate to take one of the spots at the back end, but subsequent moves by the team could push him to the bullpen. Last year, he posted a 4.30 ERA as a starter and a 2.67 as a reliever. His strikeout, walk and ground ball rates were all better out of the bullpen than the rotation.

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