Orioles avoid arbitration with Jeremy Guthrie

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Jeremy Guthrie headshot.jpgThe Orioles and right-hander Jeremy Gutrhie avoided arbitration on Friday by agreeing to a one-year, $3 million contract, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. He requested $3.625 million and was offered $2.3 million when arbitration
figures were exchanged last month, so they just about split the difference here.

Guthrie, who turns 31 in April, eclipsed the 200 inning mark for the first time in his career last season, but posted a 5.04 ERA while leading the league with 17 losses. Guthrie has always been very hittable, but he managed to get by as a groundball pitcher in the past. No such luck last season, as he allowed more flyballs than groundballs and even though his HR/FB rate approached league average, he led the league with 35 home runs allowed. Unless he manages to reverse that trend, expect more of the same going forward.

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.