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Cleveland Indians avoid arbitration with OF Leonys Martin, agree on one-year deal

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Outfielder Leonys Martin has reached agreement with the Cleveland Indians on a one-year contract for the 2019 season, avoiding arbitration.

The non-guaranteed deal is worth $3 million according to a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Martin appeared in six games in 2018 for the Indians after he was acquired before the July 31 trade deadline from Detroit in exchange for minor league shortstop Willi Castro. Martin blasted home runs in his first two games at Progressive Field as a member of the Indians.

But the 30-year-old native of Cuba missed the final two months of the season after he was diagnosed with a life-threatening bacterial infection that landed him in the hospital for several days. Martin recovered and spent the remainder of the 2018 campaign recuperating in Florida.

Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said the team expects Martin to be back at full health in 2019. He described the period of two weeks in mid-August when Martin was battling the bacterial infection as incredibly difficult for the entire franchise.

“That was someone’s life at stake and he was really close to not being here anymore,” Antonetti said. “It quickly puts into perspective a lot of the other things you try to navigate day-to-day. Not that those things aren’t important, but when you have a situation like that develop, it hits you really hard.”

Martin hit .255 with 11 home runs 33 RBI and an OPS of .747 in 84 games between Detroit and Cleveland in 2018. He is a career .248 hitter with a .313 on-base percentage against right-handed pitchers.

After Bradley Zimmer was sent to the minor leagues and subsequently suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, Martin was expected to fill Cleveland’s need in center field. When Martin took ill, the Indians turned to rookie Greg Allen in center.

Signing Martin, who was in his final year of arbitration eligibility, gives the Indians a solid defensive center fielder to possibly platoon with Allen against righties while the team waits to see how Zimmer recovers from shoulder surgery.

According to figures provided by, Martin made $1.75 million in 2018. projected Martin’s arbitration figure at $2.8 million for 2019.

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