Remembering Melvin Mora

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I made a joke on Twitter earlier about how we’d see just how desperate bloggers are for content by the number of “is Melvin Mora a Hall of Famer?”  posts written today.  Hey, he retired. That’s an easy one, right?

I shouldn’t be so damn cynical, because Rob Neyer wrote up a nice Melvin Mora remembrance over at SB Nation that is worth your time. Maybe Mora won’t think it’s nice because the centerpiece of it is play in 2000 when Mora made an error that cost the Mets a game, but it’s full of great stuff. Especially when he reminds us what passed for the heavy hitting portion of the Red Sox’ lineup in 2000. Mercy.

Anyway, Rob’s post is a good reminder that we should probably do whatever we can to get away from absolutes and extremes in baseball analysis. “Is so-and-so a Hall of Famer” or “The ten best whatevers of all time” posts have their place, but we probably do way too much of that.  Rather than rating and ranking everything or trying so hard to find meaningful context to things that happen in baseball, we need to make sure there’s a place for simple stories. To remember the stuff that just sort of happened and didn’t mean a hell of a lot in the grand scheme. Because that’s most of what’s enjoyable about baseball anyway.

Melvin Mora’s career doesn’t fit into the pre-fab “how great was he?” mold. But it was long and varied enough and at times really good, and it serves as a useful means with which to tell a few stories like the one Rob tells today. And that stuff is pretty great.

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

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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.