Oliver Perez is no longer competing for a rotation spot following another poor start yesterday, but the Mets aren’t ready to release him quite yet and will instead give him a chance to claim a bullpen job.
Perez is much better suited for relief work at this point, as he actually remained somewhat effective against left-handed hitters even while being a mess overall during the past two seasons, but it doesn’t sound like his odds of securing a bullpen spot are very good either.
In fact, both Andy Martino of the New York Daily News and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com report that the Mets will almost surely release Perez after giving him a couple appearances as a reliever.
If true it seems odd that they wouldn’t just release him now, since watching Perez throwing 30 more pitches shouldn’t change the way anyone thinks about him, but as Rubin writes maybe the Mets are holding out hope for “some miracle performance in the next week.”
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.