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.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.