Martinez and the Tigers had mutual interest in a long-term contract earlier this offseason. After talks didn't yield a deal and the Tigers signed Upton to a six-year, $132.75 million contract -- a deal that includes a player opt-out two seasons in -- Martinez and the Tigers focused on avoiding arbitration.
The Tigers haven't faced an arbitration ruling on a player since 2001, a streak that general manager Al Avila's predecessor, Dave Dombrowski, carried through his 14-year tenure. The streak appeared to be in serious jeopardy after the Tigers and Martinez stood $2 million apart in arbitration filings last month. Detroit filed at $6 million, Martinez at $8 million.
The two sides were on track to go to an arbitration case at the end of the week. Instead, they not only avoided a hearing this week, but next winter as well. Martinez will reportedly make $6.75 million this year, followed by $11.75 million in 2017.
It's a hefty raise for a player who has raised his play in kind over two seasons since joining the Tigers near the end of Spring Training in 2014, having been released by the Astros a few days earlier. What began as a Minor League contract became a bargain for Detroit, where Martinez batted .315 with 23 homers and 76 RBIs in 2014.
Martinez and the Tigers avoided arbitration last winter with a $3 million contract. He followed by hitting .282 with 38 home runs, 33 doubles and 102 RBIs in 2015, earning his first All-Star selection at midseason and the Tiger of the Year award at season's end.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.