Report: Ex-Agent Dennis Gilbert expected to buy the Rangers

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I’ve been hearing that the winning bidder for the Rangers is going to be announced this week. Today SI’s Jon Heyman reports that a front runner has emerged:

Former baseball superagent Dennis Gilbert and his ownership group
have emerged in recent days as the surprise frontrunner to buy the Texas Rangers SI has learned. The
deal is not believed finalized yet, but the winning bid is expected to
be “north of $500 million,” according to people familiar with the
talks.

Gilbert used to represent Barry Bonds, George Brett and Jose Canseco. He’s a Beverly Hills  estate planner and insurance man by trade. His website claims that he “revolutionized the sport of baseball through developing the free agent system.”  I’m guessing that Marvin Miller, Curt Flood, Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally would be curious to know that. Murray Chass has a pretty good takedown of the claim. Murray also notes that Gilbert is a former assistant to and good friend of White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and if you know anything about how ownership politics works in baseball, you know that being one of Jerry’s boys makes you one of Bud Selig’s boys, and that puts you at the front of any line you wanna be in.

Anyway, it certainly will be interesting for the guy who claims to have invented the very institution that has led to such high player salaries to show up at the owners’ meetings this winter. They’d probably greet him with a beating from a bag of doorknobs.  It will also be interesting to see a well-heeled Beverly Hills businessman to take over a Dallas sports team.  Think he’s gonna make a lot of home games?

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.