Martinez opts out of Padres contract, becomes free agent

San Diego Padres relief pitcher Nick Martinez throws during the first inning in Game 4 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — 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.

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