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Martinez opts out of Padres contract, becomes free agent

Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 22: Nick Martinez #21 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in game four of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 22, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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SAN DIEGO - Right-hander Nick Martinez opted out of his contract with the San Diego Padres and became a free agent after going 4-4 with a 3.47 ERA in his return from Japanese baseball.

Martinez turned down a $6.5 million player option Thursday, instead triggering a $1.5 million buyout that ended his contract after one year and $7.5 million.

He made 10 starts and 37 relief appearances for the Padres and had eight saves. If he had kept his contract, he would have been guaranteed $25.5 million from 2021-23.

Martinez, 32, spent the previous four seasons in Japan, pitching first for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and then the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.