A’s “closing in on finishing a deal” with Brandon McCarthy

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In addition to being on the verge of signing Hideki Matsui the A’s are also “closing in on finishing a deal” with Brandon McCarthy, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

McCarthy has a lengthy injury history and was limited to 56 innings this season–all in the minors–because of a stress fracture in his shoulder, but last month there were reports of at least a half-dozen teams scouting him in the Dominican winter league and McCarthy pitched well there.

He’s still just 27 years old and in between all the injuries McCarthy has a 4.56 ERA in 373 career innings despite calling a pair of hitter-friendly ballparks home in Texas and Chicago, so if healthy he should like pitching in Oakland.

UPDATE: The Athletics just announced that they have agreed to terms with McCarthy on a one-year contract. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the deal is worth $1 million guaranteed, plus some additional incentives.

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.