The Cincinnati Reds made a significant move on Wednesday, solidifying their pitching staff for the upcoming season. Right-hander Nick Martinez and the Reds reached a two-year, $26 million agreement, with an opt-out option after the first season. This signing comes after the Reds’ pursuit of bolstering their pitching rotation to compete in the competitive National League Central.
Nick Martinez, at 33 years old, had recently opted out of the final two years of his contract with the San Diego Padres. The original contract was worth $16 million. However, the Padres declined their club option on Martinez, which would have been a two-year, $32 million deal. Martinez showcased his abilities in the previous season, excelling in nine starts and posting an impressive 2.32 ERA in 42⅔ innings. After passing a physical examination, he will earn $14 million in 2024 and potentially head back to free agency. If Martinez remains with the Reds, he will receive $12 million in 2025.
In addition to acquiring Nick Martinez, the Cincinnati Reds secured another valuable asset for their pitching staff. The team reached a one-year, $8 million agreement with Emilio Pagan. The deal includes a player option for 2025. Pagan, a hard-throwing right-hander, will join an improving bullpen that already includes talented pitchers such as Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, Ian Gibaut, and Sam Moll. These relievers all boasted impressive ERAs in the low 3s during the previous season.
The Cincinnati Reds are determined to build a formidable roster that can contend in the National League. With a core group of young infielders like Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and utilityman Spencer Steer, the Reds have a foundation for success. Additionally, they have experienced players in right fielder Will Benson, second baseman Jonathan India, catcher Tyler Stephenson, and center fielder TJ Friedl. The signing of Nick Martinez will add depth to the Reds’ starting rotation, which already features promising young talents such as Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, Nick Lodolo, Andrew Abbott, and Brandon Williamson.
Nick Martinez’s career has seen ups and downs. After four years with the Texas Rangers, he spent four seasons playing in Japan. During his tenure there, Martinez flourished, finishing the 2021 season with an outstanding 1.60 ERA in 140⅔ innings. His return to the United States saw him bring back increased fastball velocity and a remarkable Vulcan-grip changeup, a technique he learned in Japan. Martinez initially signed with the Padres but opted out after one season. Last November, he re-signed for three years and $26 million, with dual options following the first season. Since his return to the Major Leagues, Martinez has performed consistently, accumulating a 10-8 record with a 3.45 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 216⅔ innings.
The Cincinnati Reds made valuable additions to their pitching staff with the signings of Nick Martinez and Emilio Pagan. Martinez brings experience, skill, and versatility to a young starting rotation, while Pagan strengthens an already improving bullpen. The Reds will look to capitalize on these acquisitions as they aim to compete for a postseason berth in the challenging National League Central.