According to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Takashi Saito is not sure whether he will return next season.
“I don’t have a certain answer yet,” Saito said with a member of the
Japanese media interpreting. “But I don’t have a definite feeling of
‘I’m quitting.’ I’m still thinking….I still believe I can pitch.”
Saito, who turns 41 in February, posted a 2.83 ERA and 69/17 K/BB ratio over 54 innings with the Braves this season. Though he was bothered by tendinitis in his right shoulder in September — and left off the initial NLDS roster — it was a rebound year across the board for him, as he saw improvements in his strikeout rate, walk rate and groundball rate from last season.
Saito earned a $3.2 million base salary this season, with a possible $2.3 million in incentives based on appearances and innings pitched. Like Arthur Rhodes, who I mentioned yesterday, he projects to be a Type A free agent this winter.
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.