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Report: Nick Martinez to sign with Nippon-Ham Fighters

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Free agent right-hander Nick Martinez has signed a $1.8 million deal with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Rangers last month and reportedly elected to sign with the Fighters over “multiple major-league offers.”

Martinez, 27, operated as a swingman for the Rangers in 2017, rounding out his season with 3-8 record in 18 starts and a combined 5.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.4 SO/9 in 111 1/3 innings as both a starter and reliever for the club. While he made it through the season without injury, he underwent sports hernia surgery in November and is expected to be ready to take the mound again by spring.

News of the signing broke just one day after the Rangers and Fighters announced a new long-term partnership. Reports from the Associated Press and MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan indicate that the teams will send personnel to observe each other’s ballparks, share scouting reports and receive input on their player development operations.

“This agreement will allow us to share baseball information and instruction techniques that should be very beneficial to both organizations,” Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters Friday. “There is also common ground in the fact that both franchises are in the process of building new ballparks. We look forward to working with the Hokkaido group in what will be a very productive partnership.”

Royals acquire Brian Goodwin from Nationals

Brian Goodwin
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The Royals have acquired outfielder Brian Goodwin from the Nationals, the teams announced Sunday. The Nationals received minor league right-handed reliever Jacob Condra-Bogan in the deal.

Goodwin, 27, was working through his third campaign with the Nationals in 2018. He saw limited playing time in the outfield (mostly due to the trifecta of talent the club already had in Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, and Juan Soto), and finished the first half of the season with a .200/.321/.354 batting line, three home runs, three stolen bases and a .674 OPS in just 79 plate appearances. The Royals, who appear thin on compelling center field options at the moment, are expected to utilize him on a more frequent basis once he’s added to the active roster.

The 23-year-old Condra-Bogan has yet to break into the majors with any team so far. He got his start in pro ball in 2017 with the independent Washington WildThings of the Frontier League and issued three runs, three walks and 15 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings before signing on with the Royals as a free agent. This season, he pitched to an impressive 2.08 ERA, 0.7 BB/9 and 13.5 SO/9 through 26 innings in Single-A Lexington before getting transferred to High-A Wilmington for a single appearance. The Nationals have not announced where he’ll be assigned for the remainder of 2018.