Ryan Zimmerman could miss rest of season

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Ryan Zimmerman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Saturday due to a strained rib muscle. According to what Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, it’s possible he may not play again this season.

“We’re just going to be really conservative about when we put him back
out there. We’re just really concerned that — what I don’t want to have
happen is that he plays in a game, swings and hurts it, and now it’s a
month into the offseason that he’s got to rehab the injury. That’s not
the way you want a player going into the offseason — before he’s got to
get on track with what he’s got to do to get on track for next year,
first he’s got to rehab an injury. If we can avoid that, we will.”

Zimmerman, who turns 26 in three days, is batting .307/.388/.510 with 25 homers, 85 RBI and an 899 OPS this season. He’s often overlooked because of the team he plays for, but with his superb defense at third base, Zimmerman currently ranks second in the majors among position players in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) this season, according to Fangraphs. Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are busy making the headlines, but Zimmerman is certainly worthy of some MVP consideration, as well. 

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.