Matt Murton went 3-for-5 last night, giving the former Cubs outfielder 213 hits on the year to break Japan’s single-season record of 210 hits set by Ichiro Suzuki in 1994.
Murton still has two more games to add to his total, although it’s worth noting that Suzuki played when the Japanese schedule was 130 games, compared to the current 144-game schedule. Murton acknowledged the difference in season lengths after breaking Suzuki’s record:
1994 and 2010 are two different seasons. He did it in 130 games. It is what it is, it’s a great honor. In terms of Ichiro, this doesn’t change anything. He’s one of the best players in baseball.
Meanwhile, last month Suzuki became the first player in MLB history to reach 200 hits in 10 consecutive seasons and joined Pete Rose as just the second player in MLB history to have 200 hits in 10 seasons, period. Prior to signing with the Mariners in 2001 he captured seven straight batting titles in Japan.
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.