Cards sign Jose Martinez through 2020 season

February 23, 2019 - 8:41 am

JUPITER, Fla. (KMOX) updated at 9:30 a.m.- The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed outfielder José Martínez to a two-year contract (2019-20).  Financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed.

Martinez spoke to media before St. Louis begins Grapefruit League play on Saturday, as he will hit second and play right field. He said one of the first things he plans to do with the money – which Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports to be a $3.25-million deal – is send it back to his family in Venezuela then, "help more people who need it." 

"Take care of family first, then you find a way to (give) a little bit more to the people that actually need help," Martienz says. 

Martinez says "nothing will change" about the way he prepares and plays.

"You show up everyday with the same menatility and try to help the team win," Martinez says. "And like I said, if you're a good teammate good things will happen and that's why I'm just going to stay the same. I'm going to play harder now, be out there and try to help the team with whatever I can."

Cards president of baseball operations John Mozeliak says the deal came together quickly, as

"It's just good, it feels good," Mozeliak says. "He gets some upfront money with a signing bonus and I think he gets a little bit of security that he was looking for that he would not have gotten if he had to wait a whole other year through the arbitration process."

“José has been a key contributor to our team since his acquisition in 2016, and we’re pleased to announce this new two-year deal,” Mozeliak stated. “José has proven to be a key member of our roster and he is someone who brings high energy and passion for our team and its fans.”

Related: Mike Shildt struck by Jose Martinez's commitment to Cardinals

Martínez, 30, led the Cardinals in batting (.305) and hits (163) in 2018, finishing 7th among National League batting leaders.  The right-handed hitting outfielder finished 2nd among the team’s RBI leaders in 2018, with 42 of those RBI coming with two outs, ranking 3rd in the Senior Circuit to Trevor Story (57) and Christian Yelich (52).

Martínez, the son of the late former Major Leaguer Carlos Martínez, played in 887 games in the minors before making his Major League debut with the Cardinals in 2016.   The Venezuela native owns a .408 career batting mark (20-for-49) as a pinch-hitter, ranking 2nd all-time in MLB history (min. 50 plate appearances) to Kevin Seitzer (.411).