So you know, “substantive talks” are more than just “kicking the tires,” which in turn is more than someone just being “willing to listen.” Anyway.
Ken Rosenthal says that the Rangers are in said “substantive talks” with the Padres for closer Heath Bell. Given that they’ve basically thrown Neftali Feliz under the bus* during his recent struggles, it should not be at all surprising that they may be interested in Bell.
The Rangers could certainly be the front runners here. The Cardinals were interested, but they were apparently offering Colby Rasmus, so that theory is over. The Phillies were interested too, but there has been no activity there in recent days.
*Question for Nolan Ryan and Ron Washington: Now that you believe that Feliz does not have the mentality or intensity or whatever the hell it is you claim he lacks to be a closer, are you prepared to admit that he should have been a starter all along?
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.