Kenny Lofton wants everyone to know he didn't cheat

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Lofton_Kenny_Indians.standard[1].jpgKenny Lofton would like to let everyone know that he did not ever use, or even consider using, performance-enhancing drugs.

“I just went out there and did what I had to do. I was not a cheater,” he told the Associated Press. Lofton made the comments during an announcement that he had been selected for induction into the Cleveland Indians’ Hall of Fame. The speedy outfielder is hoping for induction into a more prestigious hall – the one in Cooperstown, and it seems he’s hoping the steroid angle will increase his chances.

“I was a guy who never did it (steroids), never tried to do it, never wanted to do it but I played against guys who obviously were doing it,” he said. “My competition level had to be at a certain level to be able to compete with those guys who were cheating.

“I was not a cheater, so hopefully they’ll take a look at that and see what I did under that period and hopefully they take that into account.”

In the current voting climate, this actually isn’t a bad strategy (though it hasn’t worked for Fred McGriff ), and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see other borderline candidates try it.

As for Lofton’s case, he had a .299/.372/.423 line in 17 seasons. He was a six-time All-Star, won four Gold Gloves, stole 622 bases (leading the league five times), scored 1,528 runs and notched 2,428 hits. That might be good enough to get in on it’s own merit, especially if voters remember just how good he was during the first decade of his career.

You be the judge as to whether doing it in the steroid era should make a difference.

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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.