Bill Hall drawing interest from Nationals and Orioles

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Released by the Astros earlier this week, Bill Hall is drawing interest from the Nationals and Orioles, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Rosenthal also notes that the Yankees pursued Hall during the offseason and could be interested in the veteran utility man again now.

Hall was released by the Astros two months into a one-year, $3 million deal after hitting just .224 with two homers and a .615 OPS in 46 games, which was a 160-point drop from his production with the Red Sox last season.

However, the 31-year-old Hall posted a .689 OPS in 2008 and a .596 OPS in 2009, so his solid season in Boston looks like the anomaly.

Report: Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez

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Update (5:16 PM ET): ESPN’s Pedro Gomez is reporting that the deal is final.

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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.