The Rays, James Shields stay hot, tame the Tribe

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Tampa Bay beat the Indians 7-4 today behind James Shields’ two run, seven strikeout performance. He’s now 4-1 on the season and allowed a total of five runs in his last four starts. On the offensive side, every Rays’ starter got a hit except for Kelly Shoppach. Evan Longoria’s two-run double in the ninth put any hopes of an Indians’ comeback on ice.

While the talk coming into this series was about how hot the Indians have been at home, the Rays have been baseball’s road team. They have now won 10 of 11 on the road, and are 13-5 overall.

That disastrous start of theirs is way back in the rear view mirror now.  The Rays are in first place, a half-game up on the Yankees.

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.