When I wrote the Angels preview the other day I assumed that Mark Trumbo would be taking over the first base job until Kendrys Morales can come back. As I said, Trumbo “hit the tar out of the ball at Salt Lake City last year, hit the tar out of the ball down in Venezuela over the winter and has continued to hit the tar out of the ball this year during spring training.”
Apparently that’s not good enough for Mike Scioscia, because he’s taken a shine to Howie Kendrick at first base over the past 10 days, and said yesterday that he’d use him there at least a couple of times a week. Here’s Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
Scioscia believes that infield will provide better overall defense, because Kendrick, who has started 53 major league games at first, rates a slight edge over Trumbo, whom the manager described as “a work in progress” defensively. “. . .He’s adequate and improving,” Scioscia said.
Look, the example of Brandon Wood is proof that, no, you can’t trust everyone who rakes at Salt Lake City to be good in the majors. But really: is Mike Scioscia truly going to make his decision of who plays at first base based on defense?
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.