Brewers still trying to find a long-term position for Mat Gamel

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Third base prospect Mat Gamel began getting some reps at first base recently as the Brewers plan ahead for the possibility of life without Prince Fielder, but yesterday he made his first career start in left field subbing for an injured Ryan Braun and now it sounds like Milwaukee’s coaching staff may like him more as an outfielder.
“My assessment says that’s where he’s going to wind up, in the outfield,” manager Ken Macha told Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Of course, Macha also pointed out that, as of now, Braun is signed through 2015 and right fielder Corey Hart just inked a $26.5 million extension that goes through 2013.
“We might get in the winter and somebody might be interested in somebody and it’s a deal that fits both clubs and somebody goes,” Macha said. “It might not be Gamel. It might be one of the other guys. So who knows what happens as things move forward.”
Braun obviously isn’t going anywhere and the odds of trading Hart just months after signing him to an extension seem pretty slim, so Gamel replacing Fielder at first base remains the most likely scenario whether it happens in 2011 or 2012.

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.