The Cardinals are out of the Roy Oswalt hunt

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They talked with Houston, but they obviously didn’t like what they were hearing: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cardinals are no longer involved with discussions for Roy Oswalt.

The latest: Rosenthal says that the Phillies are able to meet what Houston is demanding in return for Oswalt, but that (a) the price still may be too high; and (b) there’s still no strong indication that Oswalt would agree to a trade to Philly. Yes, he said the other day that “location” doesn’t matter, but that’s only relevant if you think that his objections to Philly are based on them being on the east coast.  It’s possible, is it not, that he just doesn’t want to go to the Phillies?

Even if that isn’t an issue, with each win the Phillies grow less desperate to make a move, so unless Ed Wade ratchets back his expectations on Oswalt, he may not find anyone interested in talking to him pretty soon.

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.