Cardinals sign OF Jose Martinez to $3.25M, 2-year contract

St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jose Martinez (38) catches a ball hit by Chicago Cubs' Ben Zobrist (18) during the first inning of a baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Outfielder Jose Martinez has signed a $3.25 million, two-year contract to remain with the St. Louis Cardinals, who essentially bought out his first year of arbitration after this season.

The deal also includes incentives and was announced before the Cardinals' spring training opener Saturday against the Marlins.

Martinez, 30, led the Cardinals with a .305 average last year and had 17 homers and 83 RBIs. He played 887 games in the minors before reaching the big leagues, and has since hit .309 over parts of three seasons.

"He has had a unique career path and has been a huge part of our team the last couple of years," general manager Mike Girsch said. "We felt the right thing to do was to give him some certainty."

Martinez will compete with Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill this spring for the right field job. He could also back up Marcell Ozuna in left, and he can play first base.

"Jose is going to get at-bats somewhere this year," Girsch said. "We just don't know how it's going to work out. And I'm sure he'll continue to hit."
Manager Mike Shildt said Martinez received hearty applause from teammates when they were told about his deal.

"It was really an honor to be able to say that in the clubhouse," Shildt said. "He's an important part of what we're doing."
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