The San Diego Padres reportedly have agreed to a four-year, $20 million contract with righty Nick Martinez ahead of the league’s work stoppage. The deal includes opt-outs after both his first and second years.

Because Martinez and the Padres did not get the deal done before the beginning of the lockout, Martinez will technically remain a free agent until the new collective bargaining agreement is put in place.

Martinez, 31, is going to return to Major League Baseball after playing with Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks for four seasons. During his time with the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, Martinez posted a 3.02 ERA in 63 appearances.

Notably, in 2021, Martinez posted a 1.62 ERA and won a silver medal last summer while playing for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics.

Both San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller and Nick Martinez shared time together with the Texas Rangers. Before playing for Japan, Martinez appeared in 88 games for the Rangers between 2014 and 2017. In those games, he went 17-30 and posted a 4.77 ERA.

The Padres went into this offseason with the desire to add to their starting rotation. Despite high expectations going into the 2021 season, the Padres had a disappointing second half and missed the postseason. Besides Matinez, the Padres added Luis Garcia and Robert Suarez. Like Martinez, Suarez will also come from the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization.

In addition to Martinez and Suarez, other pitchers, including Chris Flexen, John Lindblom, Merrill Kelly and Miles Mikolas, have also enhanced their careers in NPB, or the Korean Baseball Organization in recent years and went on to return to MLB.

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