Tigers, J.D. Martinez agree to 2-year, $18.5M deal

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Tigers apparently have avoided the arbitration panel once again.

The Tigers and right fielder J.D. Martinez have agreed on a two-year contract that will pay him $18.5 million over the next two seasons, a source told The Detroit News Monday night. The deal is pending the completion of a medical exam.

Martinez, 28, coming off his first All-Star season, was slated to plead his case before the MLB arbitration panel within the next two weeks. He was seeking $8 million for 2016 and the Tigers had submitted an offer for $6 million. 

He will now make $6.75 million in 2016 and $11.75 million in 2017 and become a free agent after 2017. Left fielder Justin Upton can also become a free agent that same summer. Both will be 30 years old. 

“I love this team and I want to be a part of this team,” Martinez said before the Winter Caravan last month. “I want to be a Tiger for life…This team gave me my opportunity, so I would love to stay here as long as I can and finish my career next to Miggy (Cabrera) and Victor (Martinez). That would be awesome.”

In his two years with the Tigers Martinez has produced 61 home runs and 178 RBIs, hitting .296 with a .543 slugging percentage and a .893 OPS.

He’s posted a WAR (wins above replacement) of 8.8 with the Tigers and last season was third in the American League with 15 outfield assists.

The Tigers have not gone to arbitration with a player since 2001.