Diamondbacks trade Conor Jackson to A's

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Reports yesterday had the Rangers pursuing Conor Jackson but this afternoon the Diamondbacks traded him to a different AL West team, sending Jackson to the A’s for right-handed reliever prospect Sam Demel.
Jackson missed most of last season with valley fever and has struggled to bounce back this year, hitting just .238 with one homer and a .657 OPS in 42 games. He was a solid hitter from 2006-2008, posting an OPS above .800 each year, but while still just 28 years old Jackson is making $3.1 million and could be a non-tender candidate this winter if he doesn’t get on track in the second half.
Demel was the A’s third-round pick in 2007 and has good stuff, with an average fastball around 92-94 miles per hour and 200 strikeouts in 180.2 innings as a minor leaguer. His control is iffy, but Demel has a 2.61 ERA and 61/30 K/BB ratio in 61 innings at Triple-A and projects as a potential late-inning reliever. Still, that he’s the guy going to Arizona in a 1-for-1 deal shows just how far Jackson’s stock has declined.
While cutting bait on Jackson doesn’t necessarily have any impact on the Diamondbacks’ plans, he might be the first player out the door in a more extensive rebuilding effort that could include Adam LaRoche, Chris Snyder, Kelly Johnson, Aaron Heilman, and perhaps even Dan Haren.

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.