7:47pm: Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that Martin signed a two-year, $1.7MM contract that contains $300K worth of performance bonuses (Twitter link).
5:51pm: The Yankees announced on Wednesday that they’ve released right-hander Chris Martin so that he can sign a contract with the Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. The Yankees will receive $750K from the Fighters as compensation, while Martin, a client of SSG Baseball, will sign a contract of yet-unknown length and for yet-unknown salary. Additionally, the Yankees announced that Andrew Bailey has elected free agency after rejecting an outright assignment.
Martin, 29, logged 20 2/3 innings with the Yankees this season but recorded a disappointing 5.66 ERA. In 36 1/3 career innings between the Rockies and Yankees, Martin has a 6.19 ERA but a more encouraging 32-to-10 K/BB ratio in that time. Earlier this year, Ronald Blum of the Associated Press wrote about Martin’s unlikely journey to the big leagues, noting that the righty was playing slow-pitch softball and working in an appliance warehouse after he believed that a shoulder injury had ended his career. When his colleague broke out a catcher’s mitt one day, Martin threw to him and discovered his shoulder to be healthy, with his colleague, Jordan Bostick, telling Blum that Martin’s pitches “nearly took my thumb off.” Martin’s fascinating journey will now take another step, as he experiences baseball in a foreign country.
As for Bailey, the 31-year-old tossed 8 2/3 innings for the Yankees this season but allowed eight runs in that time. He’s spent the past two years in the Yankees’ minor league system, battling back from shoulder injuries that have halted the former Rookie of the Year and American League All Star’s career. Bailey notched a tidy 2.57 ERA with 10.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 35 innings across four minor league levels this season as he worked his way back to the Majors. He’ll hope for a more immediate opportunity in the Majors next year, though I’d imagine that he’ll need to sign a minor league pact and hope to break camp with a club in Spring Training.