From ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick comes word that the Reds have signed outfielder Jay Bruce to a six-year, $51 million contract extension with a seventh-year club option that could bring the total worth of the deal to $63 million.
Bruce was a first-year arbitration-eligible player. He could have taken a path that would have meant negotiating raises year-to-year but that also provides a quicker path to free agency. Instead, he committed himself long-term to the Reds and will play out his prime years in Cincinnati.
The 23-year-old registered a rock solid .281/.353/.493 batting line, 25 home runs and 70 RBI in 2010 for the National League Central champion Reds. He took a bit longer than expected to fully develop, but he’s a real-deal run producer now and is likely to mash in Great American Ballpark throughout the course of the contract.
The Reds inked starter Bronson Arroyo to a three-year, $35 million extension earlier this month. They haven’t been too active on the free agent market, but at least the Red Legs are keeping their core intact.
Winning the NL Central in 2010 wasn’t a fluke and Cincy has all the pieces to do it again.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.