The Cleveland Indians have signed utility infielder and outfielder Michael Martinez to a minor league contract, including an invite to big league camp once Spring Training rolls around. The move comes just three days after Martinez was outrighted to the Columbus Clippers, refused his assignment and became a free agent.
Martinez does not supply much more than a warm body for the Indians depleted outfield, should he actually make it back on the 40-man roster next season. In 16 games of September action in 2015, Martinez tallied only eight hits and struck out 12 times in 32 plate appearances. At 33-years-old, there is likely not more room for improvement in Martinez, whose career slash sits at .236/.280/.327.
Martinez has been in baseball since 2006 and got his first Major League opportunity with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012 where he played for two more years before playing 26 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014. He found his way to Cleveland in 2015. Throughout his minor league playing time, Martinez has been great at every level, but his bat does not translate well to the Majors at all. The 123 wRC+ he put up in Triple-A last season would be great in the Indians outfield, but alas.
Outrighting Martinez allowed the Indians to free up a spot on their 40-man roster, potentially for a free agent signing or even a trade, should they deal one of their top pitchers or a prospect to fill their outfield, third base, relief pitcher, or first base needs. Currently, there are four open spots on the 40-man roster.
(h/t Todd Paquette)