Carney Lansford replaces Don Baylor as Rockies hitting coach

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Don Baylor is out as the Rockies’ hitting coach, which at first glance may seem strange after Colorado scored the third-most runs in the league this season. However, thanks to playing half their games at Coors Field the Rockies always score a ton of runs. In fact, they’ve finished among the league’s top five in 17 straight years.

To account for their hitter-friendly ballpark a stat like adjusted OPS+ is more useful than raw totals and the Rockies ranked just 10th among NL teams in OPS+ this season after ranking fourth in 2009. Away from Coors Field they hit just .226/.303/.351, ranking second-worst in both OPS and runs on the road.

On the other hand, both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki have thrived under Baylor’s instruction and it’s tough to blame him for Todd Helton getting old. Beyond that, Carney Lansford was fired after serving as the Giants’ hitting coach in 2008 and 2009 because San Francisco ranked 15th and 13th in runs.

Baylor has said that he’d like to manage again and Cito Gaston recommended him to the Blue Jays as his replacement, but there hasn’t been much talk of him being a top candidate for any openings yet. Colorado has reportedly offered him another job within the organization.

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.