Breaking news: AL Central is a really, really bad division

21 Comments

Last night’s loss dropped the Indians to 54-54, which means the Tigers are the only team in the AL Central above .500 at 59-51.

Even the Tigers’ division-leading record would put them in second place in the NL Central and third place in every other division.

And that might actually be a stretch, since Detroit gets to beat up on other AL Central teams thanks to the unbalanced schedule and is just 36-38 versus teams not in baseball’s worst division.

All five AL Central teams have been out-scored by their opponents this season and collectively the division has a 263-284 (.481) record with a -177 run differential. Yuck.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.