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The Arizona Diamondbacks made the first step toward solidifying an uncertain future on Tuesday by signing their best player to a long-term extension. In a humble press conference at Salt River Fields, the D-backs made second baseman Ketel Marte’s five-year, $76 million extension official.
Marte had two years of club options left on his existing deal, which are now guaranteed along with three additional years under contract. Per Jon Heyman from MLB Network, the D-backs do have a $13 million club option for 2028 with a $3 million buyout should they choose not to exercise the option.
D-backs general manager Mike Hazen didn’t hesitate to show his gratitude for Marte signing the deal to be a part of this franchise until at least 2028.
“Very fortunate to have Ketel be with us for the foreseeable future,” he said. “I think it’s not lost on everybody that he’s out best player. We have talked about what we need to do to win and turn back around where we are today. You do that with elite players, and Ketel is certainly an elite player. So we are very fortunate the player, the person he is, that he’s going to be a Diamondback and that fans will get to enjoy to continue to watch him play. I know they have already, and we’re even more excited about what the future’s going to bring.”
Marte expressed mutual appreciation for Hazen and the organization, stating several times how much he wanted to stay in Arizona.
“First of all, super happy, thankful to the organization for allowing me to stay here,” Marte said via team interpreter Alex Arpiza. “Also very thankful for my family that’s always supporting me. I’m just happy to be able to be here for the long-term with the Diamondbacks.”
Per Zach Buchanan of The Athletic, Marte will receive $11 million for 2023, $13 million in 2024, $16 million for 2025 and 2026, and $14 million in 2027. The club option for 2028 is team-friendly, only costing them an additional $10 million to retain Marte in 2028.
When asked why now was the right time to sign Marte’s extension considering the years left on the deal, Hazen emphasized the importance of showing commitment to the organization’s star players.
“As we’ve continued to talk about what it’s going to take for us to continue to take steps forward, we want to continue to do that with our best player here,” he said. “And as everybody would know, we did have that from a contractual standpoint. But as you move closer to that endpoint — as you continue to move down the road and Ketel continues to be an elite player in this league — it just creates more uncertainty of what might happen down the road.
“I think at some point as we build towards winning and pushing to win and the young players that will be coming up with Ketel, we need to anchor around guys. I have made some trades where we have moved some of our better players out of here. It’s not necessarily things that I look back on and celebrate in a lot of ways. We’ve had those conversations at the time. We need to make some commitments here both for the guys that are in this clubhouse now and guys that are going to be coming into this clubhouse in the next couple of years.
“So we felt like this was the right time. There was always going to be a balance of when is the right time to have these conversations. It is not a perfect science to it. There is a trust that we have with Ketel and his talent and who he is and what he can be for our team, and that’s really what the impetus was behind this.”
Getting the deal done now didn’t seem to be as important to Marte, but staying in Arizona as a member of the D-backs was his primary goal. Marte even said at one point that he wants to retire as a member of this franchise.
“The main focus right now is to not only be here five years but end my career here with the Diamondbacks,” he said.
Marte credited manager Torey Lovullo, his teammates, and the staff as the reasons why he wants to stay here.
“I always wanted to be here, and I want to say thanks to Torey and the whole staff just for having that confidence in me to be able to remain here,” Marte said
Lovullo echoed similar sentiments as Hazen about his second baseman and the direction of this team.
“I think it sends a message that Mike has made a commitment to obviously one of the best players in the National League, and he’s going to be here for a long time,” he said. “We’re all excited about that. I think Mike said it best. We’re looking for more players like Ketel Marte to come into this clubhouse and help us get to the next level.”
Despite being hindered by injuries and playing the majority of his time at centerfield in 2021, Marte still slashed .318/.377/.532 with a .909 OPS. In 2022, the D-backs have committed to Marte returning to second base, where he hasn’t played much since being named an All-Star in 2019. Since then, Marte has only made 30 appearances and eight starts at second due to the team’s decision to move him to the outfield.
Returning to his natural position caused MLB Network to already name Marte the top second baseman in all of MLB for 2022.
“We know we have a lot of heavy lifting before us, and I’m thrilled that Ketel will be here for a long time,” Lovullo added. “He’s just a really, really good baseball player. But the message was loud and clear that we’re committed and ready to go and do this thing right.”