San Francisco needed to create an opening on the 40-man roster over the weekend, but instead of simply transferring Barry Zito to the 60-day disabled list the Giants designated Double-A pitcher Clayton Tanner for assignment.
All of which makes Chris Haft of MLB.com speculate that the Giants “still deemed Zito, who’s recovering from a right ankle injury, potentially useful.”
“Potentially useful” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for someone with a $126 million contract and his odds of cracking a potential playoff roster remain slim, but manager Bruce Bochy noted that the Giants’ various injuries mean they might have to lean on Zito for some innings down the stretch.
Zito is owed $19 million next season, $20 million in 2013, and will get a $7 million buyout in 2014, but has started just nine times this season (with a 5.62 ERA) and last threw a Quality Start on July 7.
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.