Nick Martinez

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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.”