Jose Contreras may still pitch in Japan, but it probably won’t be for the Softbank Hawks. According to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, citing a Nikkan Sports report, the Hawks have moved on from Contreras, citing a roster crunch and uncertainty about what role he would play with the club.
According to the report, SoftBank could re-consider Contreras in the event that imports Brian Falkenborg, D.J. Houlton and Justin Germano aren’t retained or if the staff suffers an injury during the season.
It’s hard to believe that Softbank
would rather have three pitchers who combined for a 5.22 ERA in the
majors as opposed to Contreras, so the Hawks may be hoping he’ll bring
his asking price down.
However, if negotiations have truly
broken down, Contreras’ next best bet may be with the Hiroshima Carp,
based on the proximity to his son’s school, though it is not known if they have interest.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.