The Cubs had a busy little Sunday morning, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, making four 25-man roster moves.
Outfielder Reed Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury, catcher Geovany Soto was activated from the 15-day disabled list, outfielder Brad Snyder was called up from Triple-A Iowa and catcher Welington Castillo was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Got all that?
Johnson has hit .367/.435/.633 with two home runs and 18 RBI in 69 plate appearances this season for Chicago. He saw a bump in playing time when Marlon Byrd went down with facial fractures and had been performing at a high level both offensively and defensively. The Cubs will have a tough time getting production from center field with both now sidelined.
Soto has been on the disabled list since mid-May with a strained muscle in his left groin. He will return to a .226/.322/.387 batting line, three home runs and 12 RBI, accomplished in 31 games.
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.