Detroit — The Tigers on Tuesday signed veteran center fielder Leonys Martin to a major-league contract. The deal is for one-year, $1.75 million.
Martin, who will turn 30 in March, figures to compete with JaCoby Jones for a starting job in center. Martin bats left-handed, too, which fills another need on the Tigers roster.
The Tigers, who presently have 39 players signed to their 40-man roster, also signed four other veteran players to minor-league deals: catcher Derek Norris, right-handed pitcher Enrique Burgos, first baseman Edwin Espinal and outfielder Jim Adduci. All four were invited to big-league camp in the spring.
Martin’s best years came with the Rangers. He hit .268 and stole 67 bases in 2013 and 2014. But his offensive production has fallen off since. He started last season in Seattle and finished with the Cubs, hitting .172 combined. He was not on the Cubs’ postseason roster.
He hit .306 in 88 games at Triple-A Tacoma.
Presently, the Tigers have five outfielders on their 40-man roster — Martin and rookie Mike Gerber, Jones, Mikie Mahtook and Nick Castellanos.
Adduci, 32, will get his second tour with the Tigers. He played 29 games last season and hit .241.
Norris, a former All-Star who will be 29 in February, played just 53 games for the Rays last season (.201, 9 home runs, 24 RBIs) before being released at the end of June. He was subsequently suspended by the Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy.
Norris denied the charges that he verbally and physically abused his former fiancee in 2015. He was never arrested on any charges. He was still required to cooperate with the MLB investigation and he did not appeal the suspension, thus foregoing the $100,000 that was remaining on his salary.
Norris, a right-handed hitter, could compete with John Hicks for the backup catcher spot.
Burgos, 27, features a 96 mph fastball and slider repertoire. He spent last season in Triple-A with both the Braves and Diamondbacks. He has 65 minor-league saves with 482 strikeouts in 451 innings.
He’s posted 82 strikeouts in 68⅓ big-league innings, all with the Diamondbacks.
Espinal, former Pirates' farmhand who will turn 24 in January, is a Gold Glove-winning first baseman at the minor-league level. The right-handed hitter also seemed to find his power stroke last season — hitting a career-best 15 home runs with 86 RBIs between Double-A and Triple-A.