J.D. Martinez, who was released by the Astros over the weekend, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Tigers.
Martinez was a semi-regular for Houston during the past three seasons, logging 975 plate appearances, but he hit just .251 with 24 homers and a .687 OPS as a corner outfielder. He’s still just 26 years old and has a decent minor-league track record, so Martinez is a worthwhile pickup for a Tigers team looking for some organizational depth after losing Andy Dirks to back surgery.
He’d likely fit best as a part-timer, platooning with a left-handed hitter. For now he’ll head to Triple-A and try to resurrect his career.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.