David Freese to have season-ending ankle surgery

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Just yesterday, the Cardinals hoped to get their rookie third baseman back by as soon as next week. Now they won’t have him back again until next season.

David Freese will undergo season-ending surgery to repair tendon damage in his right ankle, according to Matthew Leach of MLB.com.

Freese re-injured the ankle during the first game of a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Monday night. According to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, it is a new injury in the same area of the ankle that landed him on the disabled list in late-June.

The 27-year-old Freese was a pleasant surprise for the Redbirds this season, batting .296/.361/.404 with four homers, 12 doubles and 36 RBI over 240 at-bats. Felipe Lopez, who has been the primarily fill-in during Freese’s absence, should be the everyday third baseman moving forward. He has a .267/.341/.395 batting line to go along with six homers and 29 RBI in 281 at-bats this season. It’s worth noting that he is currently dealing with a knee injury.

Lopez is a fine utility player, which is why the Cardinals signed him, but after trading away Ryan Ludwick over the weekend, they could be starved for offense down the stretch.  

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.