In news that comes as no surprise to anyone, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com earlier today that he intends to decline club options for catchers Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder after the World Series.
“I hate closing doors,” Huntington said, “but I think it’s realistic to assume that neither option is realistically in play at this point in time.”
Doumit will receive a $500,000 buyout rather than $7.25 million or $8.25 million in 2013. The 30-year-old batted .303/.353/.477 with eight homers and an .830 OPS this season, but missed over two months with an ankle injury. He has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career and is regarded as poor defender, but would be less of a liability in the American League where he could get at-bats as designated hitter.
Snyder will receive a $750,000 buyout rather than $6.75 million next season. The 30-year-old backstop batted .271/.376/.396 with three homers, 17 RBI and a .772 OPS over 119 plate appearances this season, but didn’t appear in another game after undergoing surgery on his lower back in June.
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.