Report: Hunter Pence won’t be moved this summer

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It’s only been a day or two since Buster Olney reported that the Astros would listen to offers for Hunter Pence, but in that time there has been more chatter about him than almost any player on the market. But he may not be on the market at all, actually: Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald was told by a source that Pence won’t be moved by the Astros.

It could be that everyone realized that he wasn’t quite the prize everyone made him out to be. Oh, he’s good. He’s the best hitter the Astros have. But because he was a super two, he has two more rounds of arbitration and could make as much as $9-10 million in 2012 and more again in 2013, sort of killing that “he’s young, cheap and controlled” narrative.  It’s also possible that people looked at his splits and realized that Minute Maid Park has been very very good to him.  If so, the haul the Astros might have expected may not be all that realistic.

It’s also possible, however, that Ed Wade is stuck as a lame duck GM, with new ownership in the offing but not yet in power, and that he has no mandate to trade Pence.  Or it could be something else.  One never knows at this time of year.

But if Silverman is right, we’re back to where we were when the week began: Carlos Beltran as the best bat available and then a wide, wide chasm between him and the number two guy.

Report: Red Sox, J.D. Martinez close to a deal

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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.