Bedard passes physical, officially back with Mariners

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Erik Bedard headshot.jpgJim Street of MLB.com reports that Erik Bedard has passed his physical, paving the way for his return to Seattle. Bedard, who turns 31 in March, signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with a mutual option for 2011.

Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the contract includes incentives that could push him over the $7.5 million he made in 2009. Bedard was 5-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 15 starts with the Mariners last season, but was bothered by shoulder problems once again, and underwent season-ending surgery in August.

When asked by Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune earlier this week, Bedard was optimistic that he would be ready to pitch again by May, but gave no firm expectation on a date for his return. At best, he’ll slot behind Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. At worst, he’ll be the same disappointment he’s been for the past two seasons. It’s a gamble worth taking with such a low guaranteed salary.
 

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.