Report: O's first-round pick Manny Machado to make pro debut Friday

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According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, No. 3 overall pick Manny Machado is expected to make his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League Orioles on Friday.

Machado, an 18-year-old shortstop, was signed to a $5.25 million signing bonus by the Orioles earlier this month. It was the second-largest signing bonus in franchise history, only topped by Matt Wieters’ $6 million signing bonus when he was selected with the No. 5 pick out of Georgia Tech in 2007.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Machado hits from the right side and the plate and hails from the Miami area, so we’ve already heard plenty of Alex Rodriguez comparisons in terms of his projection. We won’t go there quite yet, but he was regarded as the top high school position player available on draft day.

Zrebiec writes that Machado hasn’t played a meaningful game since June, so in an effort to be cautious, the Orioles plan to use him as designated hitter over his first couple of games with the GCL club. 

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.