Reds Sign Pitcher Nick Martinez for $26M, Sources Confirm

Revamping Roster for Upcoming Season, Reds Strengthen Team.

by Nouman Rasool
Reds Sign Pitcher Nick Martinez for $26M, Sources Confirm
© Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In a significant move to strengthen their roster, the Cincinnati Reds have secured right-handed pitcher Nick Martinez with a two-year contract valued at $26 million, including an option to opt-out after the first season. This deal, confirmed by sources close to ESPN, marks a strategic push by the Reds to enhance their pitching lineup, aiming for a triumphant run in the National League Central in the upcoming season.

Martinez, 33, made a pivotal decision to leave the San Diego Padres, foregoing the remaining two years of his contract which promised him $16 million. This move followed the Padres' decision to decline their two-year, $32 million club option on him.

Martinez's recent performance has been noteworthy, particularly over nine starts where he recorded a commendable 2.32 ERA across 42⅔ innings, predominantly contributing as a relief pitcher in 54 games. Pending a physical examination, Martinez's contract with the Reds is set to pay him $14 million in 2024, granting him the liberty to re-enter free agency if he chooses.

If he stays on, the 2025 season will see him earning $12 million. Earlier on the same day, the Reds finalized a deal with Emilio Pagan, another formidable right-hander. Pagan's one-year contract is worth $8 million and includes a similar player option for 2025, valued at $8 million.

Pagan joins a robust bullpen that already features talents like Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, Ian Gibaut, and Sam Moll, who have each maintained ERAs in the low 3s this year.

Reds' Strategic Focus

The Reds, who narrowly missed a wild-card spot with an 82-80 record, are evidently prioritizing their pitching strength.

This focus aligns with their ambition to build on their surprising contention in the NL. The team boasts a young, promising core of infielders, including Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and versatile players like Spencer Steer and Will Benson, complemented by Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, and TJ Friedl.

Martinez, with his impressive track record, is poised to join a rotation that potentially features promising young pitchers like Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, Nick Lodolo, Andrew Abbott, and Brandon Williamson. Following a mixed four-year tenure with the Texas Rangers, Martinez honed his skills in Japan, returning to the MLB with enhanced fastball velocity and a distinctive Vulcan-grip changeup.

His performance since returning to the MLB includes a record of 10-8, a 3.45 ERA, and 201 strikeouts against 81 walks in 216⅔ innings, showcasing his evolved prowess and making him a valuable asset to the Reds' ambitious plans.