Peter Gammons: Red Sox unlikely to re-sign Victor Martinez

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During a recent Boston radio appearance Peter Gammons predicted that the Red Sox will not re-sign Victor Martinez and speculated that the switch-hitting catcher will end up signing with the Tigers as a free agent this offseason.

Gammons speculated that Detroit will give Martinez a four- or five-year contract, adding: “I don’t think anybody else is going to give him four or five years to be a catcher.”

And they shouldn’t. Martinez is a very good hitter, batting .300 with an OPS above .840 in five of the past six seasons, but he’s also 32 years old, has never been considered particularly good behind the plate, and has thrown out just 19 percent of stolen base attempts in the past two seasons. His odds of being a catcher in 2013 or 2014 seem pretty slim, and while his hitting is very good it’s hardly elite for a first baseman or designated hitter.

Martinez is a Type A free agent, so in order to sign him the Tigers would lose their first-round pick, which is 19th overall. Anything in the top 15 picks is protected and would involve Boston receiving a second-round pick instead, so if they’re going to lose Martinez as a free agent his landing in Detroit would be one of the better scenarios.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.