The case for the Mets signing Elijah Dukes

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As soon as Elijah Dukes was released today people starting snarking “just watch, the Mets will sign him.”  Howard Megdal of the New York Baseball Digest doesn’t consider that to be snark at all.  The upshot: Dukes is better than Gary Matthews, who the Mets will probably start, so at the very least he’d fit in as a backup, right?

I think Dukes is still capable of being a good player, he’s certainly inexpensive and he is probably worth a flier. Just not by the Mets. If there’s something a guy with Dukes’ history doesn’t need is an alternately bored and rabid press like that which covers the New York teams.  How about someplace quiet like Kansas City or Pittsburgh or some other island of misfit baseball toys? Places where he’ll (a) represent an upgrade; and (b) won’t be subjected to the kind of scrutiny that he, quite frankly, doesn’t want and doesn’t need.

Of course, given my biases and rooting interests, if the Mets are hellbent on signing him, far be it from me to get in their way . . .

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.