Nick Martinez returns to Padres on 3-year, $26 million deal

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Right-hander Nick Martinez agreed to a three-year, $26 million contract with the San Diego Padres.

Martinez had turned down a $6.5 million contract with San Diego last week, becoming a free agent. But the Padres made a more substantial offer after he went 4-4 with a 3.47 ERA in his return from Japanese baseball.

“I love the city,” Martinez said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “The fans were incredible. The support, the love. I feel like they have the same desire to win as the team does. Obviously, you talk about the clubhouse, how great the group of guys are, it was really a no-brainer.”

Martinez split time between the rotation and the bullpen last season.

The new deal guarantees him $10 million in 2023, $8 million in ’24 and $8 million in ’25. He can opt out after ’23, and the deal contains performance bonuses. Should he perform well as a starter, the team has $16 million options for both ’24 and ’25.

“The contract speaks for itself,” Martinez said. “I’m going to have an opportunity to show I can start for an entire year. Through my incentives and what I’m getting paid this year, those team options give me a chance to prove that. I’m also guaranteeing some security for my family.”

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.