Yes, the Mariners are going after Prince Fielder

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Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik confirmed to MLB.com today that the M’s are, indeed, going to make a play for Prince Fielder. With all requisite caution, of course:

“There’s no question we could use a big bat in the middle of our lineup,” said the M’s general manager, “but where is your limitation and threshold? We’ll go down that road and experiment and see where it ends up, but until things get more definitive, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Obviously the Mariners could use his bat. The question is why Fielder would want to go to Seattle? Not the best hitting environment. Certainly not national exposure central. And the team is not yet a winner.

But of course, Fielder is a Boras client, so if Seattle bids the highest …

Report: Red Sox, J.D. Martinez close to a deal

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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.

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.