The Blue Jays lay off workers

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Ten months ago, the Blue Jays laid off 40 people in their front office. Yesterday, they laid off more:

Another round of layoffs hit the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, as cuts were made all across the business side of the organization. Interim CEO Paul Beeston, just back in the office after a vacation, said the total number of cuts was less than two dozen although he would not divulge a specific figure.

“The number was significant,” Beeston said from his office. “It’s not a pleasant thing to do but we felt it was necessary to ensure the long-term health of the organization.”

The Jays attendance went down by about 600,000 this year. They’re also  owned by a media company — Rogers Communications — that has been hit particularly hard by the recession, so it’s understandable that they’re in financial trouble. Oh, and staring at a guaranteed $11 million raise for Vernon Wells in 2010 doesn’t help matters.

Given that they’re feeling the need to lay off people who make less than a million bucks combined, you have to figure that they’re going to take every opportunity this offseason to make cuts where it really matters: Finally trading Roy Halladay, for one thing. Getting a new G.M. that makes less money than Ricciardi for another.

No matter what they do, we’re entering a long, dark and depressing period for Blue Jays fans.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.