Ben Sheets was awful again Sunday afternoon against the Blue Jays, allowing nine runs while failing to make it out of the fourth inning. Here’s what he said afterward:
My breaking ball is absolutely getting walloped every time I throw it. I wouldn’t say my location has been this bad maybe since my rookie year. I feel good, I feel healthy. To keep leaning on that crutch is kind of getting old. For me, I can’t even get a rhythm of having fun out there. Every pitch I’ve thrown so far this year has been bearing down, worried about my pitch, worried about this, worried about that.
Toronto knocked him around for eight extra-base hits, including three homers, and Sheets now has a 7.12 ERA and abysmal 16/16 K/BB ratio in 30.1 innings overall this season. His velocity is at career-low levels after missing all of 2009 following elbow surgery and Oakland’s one-year gamble looks more and more like $10 million flushed away.
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.