Asdrubal Cabrera is the poor man’s Jose Bautista

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Asdrubal Cabrera has always been a good player because of his defense and on-base skills, but prior to this year the Indians infielder had a total of 18 homers in 387 games spread over four seasons.

Last night Cabrera hit his 18th and 19th homers of the season, surpassing his career total in the 106th game of the year and putting him on pace to go deep 30 times.

Not only did Cabrera come into this season with just 18 career homers and a .394 lifetime slugging percentage, if you combine his minor-league numbers with his major-league numbers he had a grand total of 45 professional homers in 823 games.

His metamorphosis isn’t quite Jose Bautista-like, but Cabrera’s emergence as a slugger has been pretty remarkable and a huge part of why the Indians are competing for a division title in what was supposed to be just another rebuilding year.

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.