Outfielder Leonys Martin has signed a one-year deal with Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines, according to the Associated Press. Martin became a free agent June 29, a week after the Indians designated him for assignment.
Trekking to Asia continues a frenetic 12 months for the 31-year-old Martin. The Indians acquired Martin from Detroit at last July’s trade deadline, only to see his season end in mid-August because of a life-threatening bacterial infection. Martin overcame the illness to return to Cleveland on a $3MM salary, spending the first few months of 2019 as its primary center fielder. However, the Tribe cut the cord on Martin after an unproductive start. As part of an Indians outfield that has struggled in general this season, Martin hit a meager .199/.276/.343 (61 wRC+) with nine home runs, four steals in nine attempts and minus-0.5 fWAR across 264 plate appearances.
Although Martin’s 2019 with the Tribe went poorly, he was a 2.5-fWAR player just a year ago. It was the fourth year with at least 2.0 fWAR for the defensively adept Martin dating back to his first full season, 2013, with the Rangers. Martin has also stolen between 24 and 36 bases in four seasons, but he combined for just 11 steals during his truncated 2018-19 campaigns. He’ll take a lifetime .244/.301/.367 line (81 wRC+) with 58 homers and 126 steals in 2,792 MLB attempts overseas, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see Martin back in the majors eventually.