Last week was the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents. Today is the deadline for those so offered to accept or decline. Some already have done so (guys like Trevor Hoffman) and others have already signed free agent deals, mooting the issue (Victor Martinez). That leaves 12 type-A free agents and 11 type-B free agents who need to make up their minds before midnight.
The type As: Grant Balfour, Adrian Beltre, Carl Crawford, Scott Downs, Adam Dunn, Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee, Carl Pavano, Rafael Soriano and Jayson Werth.
The type-Bs: Randy Choate, Jesse Crain, Pedro Feliciano, Brad Hawpe, Aaron Heilman, Orlando Hudson, Adam LaRoche, Felipe Lopez, Miguel Olivo, J.J. Putz and Chad Qualls.
There is always a surprise or two — Rafael Soriano unexpectedly accepted the Braves’ offer of arbitration last year — but I can’t really see any of the type-As other than Frank Francisco, who has already indicated that he’ll accept, taking arbitration. Maybe some type-Bs do, but their doing so won’t fundamentally alter the market or anything.
If anything strange does happen, however — like, say, Adam Dunn accepting — it will likely lead to fun trade speculation over the coming days, so let’s hope for the unexpected.
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.