The Rockies might have less of a sense of urgency to get a deal done after acquiring Kevin Slowey from the Twins, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported this morning that they have had discussions about a possible deal that would send Huston Street to the Reds for Edinson Volquez.
Street has a solid 3.50 ERA and 170/33 K/BB ratio in 167 innings over three seasons with Colorado, but he’s on the trading block now that Rafael Betancourt has established himself as the closer. The 28-year-old right-hander is due a reasonable $7.5 million salary in 2012 and his contract includes a $9 million mutual option or $500,000 buyout for 2013, so he makes sense for a lot of teams, even with a number of free agent closer-types available. The Reds are currently on the market for a closer after declining Francisco Cordero’s $12 million option in late-October.
As for Volquez, he’s coming off a nightmare season in which he posted a 5.71 ERA and 104/65 K/BB ratio over 108 2/3 innings at the big league level. Still, he’s barely two years removed from Tommy John surgery and is only due a slight raise over the $1.6 million he made in 2011, so he’s an ideal buy-low target for a number of clubs.
There’s a pretty large gap in the salaries of the two players, so Renck notes that the Rockies would likely have to sweeten the deal by covering some of Street’s contract and/or including a prospect.
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.