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Rangers sign Chris Martin to 2-year deal

Chris Martin is coming home again, signing with the Rangers after two years in Japan.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Rangers have signed right-handed reliever Chris Martin to a two-year, $4 million contract, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Martin, an Arlington native, joins his hometown Rangers after two seasons in Japan with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. In 92 appearances between 2016-17, the 31-year-old Martin posted a 1.12 ERA with a 0.67 WHIP, 91 strikeouts, and 13 walks over 88.1 innings.

The 6-foot-8, 215-pounder previously spent two seasons in the major leagues—one each with the Rockies and Yankees—and posted an abysmal 6.19 ERA and 1.65 WHIP with 32 strikeouts and 10 walks over 36.1 innings.

While Texas’ financial commitment to Martin is minimal enough that they can stash him in Triple-A if he turns out to be a disappointment, he’s got plenty of upside and could be a dynamic addition to a Rangers bullpen that has plenty of question marks heading into 2018. Alex Claudio appears to have the closer role locked down entering spring training, but Martin could combine with Jake Diekmann, Keone Kela, and potentially Matt Bush (if he isn’t moved into the rotation) to provide effective relief in the middle innings next season. Martin’s contract includes $550,000 in incentives each season based on games finished, so it certainly seems possible that he could be cast into the closer’s role at some point if the Rangers decide to move Claudio out of that role.