New York Mets sign Jose Martinez to a split contract

The New York Mets continue their string of free agent signings and acquisitions with an eye towards the 2021 season. They have been, together with the San Diego Padres, the most active club in an otherwise slow offseason.

On Thursday afternoon, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the New York Mets had signed first baseman/outfielder Jose Martinez to a one-year split contract.

The league’s official page explains that “a split contract calls for a player to earn different salaries in the Majors Leagues and Minor Leagues. A player on a split contract would earn the pro-rated portion of his Major League salary for any time spent on the Major League roster.”

Per the report, the Mets will pay Martinez $1 million, with another $500,000 in available incentives, if he is able to make the major league roster.

Considering that Martinez isn’t a good defender at any position, the Mets would benefit if MLB implements the universal designated hitter rule, although that was true before this signing.

The Mets are getting a left-handed pitching masher

Martinez wasn’t good last season with two teams, slashing a horrid .182/.265/.295 with a .248 wOBA and a 57 wRC+, but St. Louis Cardinals fans have fond memories of him, as he hit .298/.363/.458 in 1,288 plate appearances for them between 2016-2019.

Currently 32 years old, it’s possible that Martinez’s best days are behind him, but he is a nice depth piece to have around as he can mash left-handed pitching to the tune of a .307/.382/.534 with a .915 career OPS and a 145 wRC+.

The Mets are probably not done adding talent to the MLB roster and the upper minor leagues, as they want to make a statement in the 2021 season.

So far, the Mets signed their starting catcher (James McCann), a top-notch reliever in Trevor May, traded for shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco, and replenished the upper minors pitching depth, all under the watch of owner Steve Cohen, president Sandy Alderson, and general manager Jared Porter.