The Arizona Diamondbacks and infielder Ketel Marte agreed to a contract extension on Monday morning, according to multiple reports.
The D-Backs officially confirmed the deal on Tuesday.
“When we acquired Ketel (Marte) in the trade that brought Taijuan (Walker) over as well, we saw in Ketel a very dynamic player, someone that could command the middle of the infield, his speed, his ability to just be a very good baseball player; his approach on offense, the consistency on defense, what we scouted and then what we came to know over the last year as a person.”
Robert Murray of FanRag Sports first reported that Marte and the D-Backs came to terms on a five-year $24 million extension that would keep him in Arizona until 2022. The deal also reportedly includes two club options for 2023 and 2024 season worth reportedly a total of $22 million, which would push the overall deal to seven years and $46 million.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com confirmed Murray’s report, but the club has not confirmed the news.
This extension would cover Marte’s arbitration years and his first year of free agency. If the options for 2024 and 2025 are picked up, they would cover years two and three of free agency.
“It was truly an unexpected blessing from God to be able to be in this position,” Marte said. “I have always been focused on working hard, trying to strive to achieve this moment and the fact that I have made it, is an attribute to God and the effort I have put into this.”
“A Special Player”
Marte, who was acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners that also brought Taijuan Walker to Arizona in November 2016, broke out in his first season in Arizona after being promoted from Triple-A Reno in June. He hit .260 with an 86 OPS+ and played solid defense at second base and shortstop. The switch-hitter finished with 1.1 bWAR in 73 games, and he shined in the postseason, batting .412 with a home run, two RBIs, four runs scored, and two triples.
Marte is projected to start the season at second base, but current shortstop Nick Ahmed has struggled to stay healthy and will only get more expensive in year two of arbitration after this season. Marte is younger, can make all the plays at short, and is a better hitter than Ahmed.
This extension signals that the D-Backs are comfortable with Marte as their shortstop of the future. Manager Torey Lovullo said he is thankful for the organization’s commitment to identifying the right players.
“We are all about bringing in the right type of player,” Lovullo said. “Ketel’s character was challenged last year at times, and he always worked, he always did everything that an Arizona Diamondback player should do.”