Cubs plan to talk extension with Matt Garza

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The rebuilding Cubs reportedly explored the possibility of trading Matt Garza over the winter, but the club is now considering keeping him in the fold for the long haul.

According to David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer confirmed earlier today that they plan to discuss a contract extension with the 28-year-old right-hander.

“We have a good relationship with Matt,” GM Jed Hoyer told Comcast SportsNet. “We need more Matt Garzas. We’ll sit down to talk to him about a deal. We’re hoping to get something worked out, but you never know and we’ll keep it private when we do.”

Garza remains under team control through the 2013 season. He avoided arbitration with the Cubs last month by agreeing to a one-year, $9.5 million contract. Garza could become trade bait again if the two sides fail to make progress on a deal, but he told Kaplan that he would be open to the idea of sticking around.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “What player doesn’t want the front office to commit to them? For me, it’s nothing but compliments. The way it goes is the way it goes. It’ll be behind closed doors. It’s huge for me. It would be huge for my family…I’m ready to help the Cubs win.”

Garza established new career-bests last season with a 3.32 ERA and 197 strikeouts. He owns a 3.83 ERA over his first six major-league seasons.

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.