Ketel Marte extension another ‘step’ in rebuilding D-backs into contender

Mar 29, 2022, 3:11 PM

Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off of Cl...

Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off of Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Chase Field on September 25, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE — Once again the Arizona Diamondbacks are investing in Ketel Marte.

For the second time in his D-backs tenure, Marte and the team have agreed to a new contract extension that keeps Arizona’s cornerstone locked in as the team looks to rebuild back into a playoff contender.

“This is the first step in us building around areas of our team that we feel are extreme strengths,” general manager Mike Hazen said Tuesday. “Areas of building into the community, our fan trust, building that back into what we’re putting out on the field every day.

“Players that fans can get behind and celebrate as we begin to win. That’s the really the overarching implications here. … We don’t need fewer Ketel Martes, we need more Ketel Martes as we had conversations about the roster and I believe that.”

While the new deal seemed to materialize over the past week, the extension was in the works early on this offseason with informal discussion turning into more robust contract talks as the offseason rolled on. Then came the MLB lockout, which shelved the talks completely as owners and players worked on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Once the hiatus was officially over, Marte and the D-backs dove right back into talks knowing they shared a mutual viewpoint of where they want this team to go.

“I think it sends a message that Mike has made a commitment to one of the best players in the National League and he’s going to be here for a long time,” manager Torey Lovullo 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.

“We know we have a lot of heavy lifting before us. I’m thrilled that Ketel will be here for a long time, he’s just a really good baseball player. But the message was loud and clear that we’re committed and we’re ready to do this thing right.”

The trust the organization has in Marte’s ability to help right the ship hasn’t been lost on the ball player, either.

Despite receiving a large pay day, Marte is focused on continuing to help the younger players, staying humble and keeping the energy up in the clubhouse day in and day out.

“It’s a special moment for me,” Marte said through an interpreter. “The organization knows what they have in me. It’s something that I’ll take with me even after I retire, that confidence they have in me.

“The fact that Mike thinks so highly of me is because I earned that, the way I come to work, the way I am with my teammates,” Marte added. “I will continue to earn Mike’s trust and be able to get to the playoffs eventually and continue to work hard.”

Now with Marte locked up, the D-backs can prioritize improving other areas of the roster.

“It’s extremely important that we continue to move downfield, move the ball forward. … This is a step — I’m not going to say first step, I feel like we’ve already taken some first steps — this is a step in the process … in surrounding Ketel with the guys that he is going to win with,” Hazen said.

“Nothing in baseball is a one-man show. … For a 162-game baseball season, the way we’re going to need to be constructed, it can’t be that. That can’t be the only thing that we do that we’re successful at and that’s what we’re committed to.”

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