It’s probably just a one-day thing with Martin Prado resting, but the Braves tonight are giving Jason Heyward his first start as a No. 2 hitter since last July 25.
Heyward has been the team’s hottest hitter thus far, batting .375/.444/.656 with two homers and three steals in 10 games. Besides Chipper Jones, who has been great in his four games since coming off the DL, everyone else in the lineup has hit below their norms, though in Brian McCann’s case, only slightly.
The Braves like Prado as a No. 2 hitter, so Heyward’s stay at the top of the order figures to be brief. He keeps pounding the ball like this for a few more weeks, then it’s possible the Braves could turn over the third spot in the order to him and drop McCann to fourth or fifth. In his nine previous starts, Heyward had batted sixth four times and seventh the other five games.
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.