Three weeks ago the Twins claimed Clete Thomas off waivers from the Tigers and gave him the fourth outfielder job, sending Ben Revere back to Triple-A for some additional seasoning.
Thomas homered in his second at-bat for Minnesota … and then went 3-for-26 with 16 strikeouts, and today the Twins designated him for assignment while claiming a new backup outfielder, Erik Komatsu, off waivers from the Cardinals.
St. Louis selected Komatsu from Washington in the Rule 5 draft and before that the Nationals acquired him from the Brewers for Jerry Hairston, so this is the 24-year-old’s fourth team in about 10 months. It’s also worth noting that the Twins had the No. 2 pick in that Rule 5 draft and passed on Komatsu to take Terry Doyle from the White Sox, only to offer him back in mid-March.
Komatsu doesn’t project as a regular, but he can play all three outfield spots and has good speed with a .389 career on-base percentage in the minors. He’ll fill the same role as Thomas.
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.