Marte calls extension an 'unexpected blessing'
D-backs believe in infielder's talent, work ethic
PHOENIX -- When an organization decides to sign a young player to a long-term contract extension, it has to be convinced that he's not only a good player, but that he has the work ethic to continue to improve despite the financial security.
After a year of being around infielder Ketel Marte, the D-backs were convinced the 24-year-old checked both boxes and inked him to a five-year, $24 million extension.
The deal also includes a pair of club options for a combined $22 million, which could make the deal worth $46 million over seven years.
"They have always been there for me, through everything we have gone through in the Dominican Republic," Marte said of his family. "It means a lot for us to be able to be in this position right now. I feel really good, both physically and mentally right now. I'm really feeling blessed by this opportunity and this contract extension. It was truly an unexpected blessing from God to be able to be in this position. I have always been focused on working hard, trying to strive to achieve this moment. The fact that I have made is just a tribute to God and the effort I put in."
The on-field component was easy to see. Marte filled in for injured shortstops Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings in the second half of the 2017 season and was a big reason they were able to win the National League Wild Card.
"We saw in Ketel a very dynamic player, someone who could man the middle of the infield," D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. "His speed, his ability to just be a very good baseball player all the way around."
Marte was acquired by the D-backs from the Mariners along with Taijuan Walker in exchange for Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis in November 2016.
After battling for a starting middle-infield spot last spring, Marte was one of the team's final cuts and he opened the year at Triple-A Reno. It was during a May visit to Reno that Hazen began to learn about how Marte approached his craft.
When Hazen showed up at the ballpark at 2 p.m. for a night game, Marte was already on the field working on his game.
"It was those subtle little pieces [that provided a] window into the work ethic and make him who he is," Hazen said.
The D-backs learned about Marte's character after the sudden death of his mother on July 30. Elpidia Marte was killed in a moped accident in the Dominican Republic and Marte left the team for four days to tend to his family.
The way Marte handled things combined with what Hazen saw during his Reno visit was enough for Hazen to make up his mind about Marte.
"I think the tragic situation and the grace with which he handled last year, where none of us could ever imagine being put in that situation, really showed the strength of Ketel through that process," Hazen said. "Those were two of the things that stood out to me that spoke to his character, who he is as a person and what we want as a long-term Diamondback player."