This is perhaps the least surprising thing in the history of things:
Not surprising, but still depressing.
Harden is the guy for whom the phrase “man, if he can stay healthy …” was invented for. Even last season, which was his worst as a major leaguer, held some promise, with Harden striking out 91 guys in 82 and two-thirds innings. He has long teased us with the idea that he could put together a great full season as a starter of be converted into a shutdown reliever. But it’s never happened and, based on this news, is exceedingly unlikely to ever be.
Some folks win the talent lottery. Some win the genetic lottery. Some really lucky ones get them both. Harden, sadly, had only the former, as his body seems bound and determined to not allow him to throw baseballs the way he can without doing all kinds of damage.
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.