Rays manager Joe Maddon called the Red Sox coaches “weak” and “cowardly” after Friday’s plunking of Luke Scott, which sure looked intentional and led to both benches clearing. Bobby Valentine fired back Saturday, labelling Maddon and his crew “immature” and “out of control.”
With tensions running high, most assumed that Saturday’s home plate umpire Ed Rapuano would issue a pregame warning to both sides. But Rapuano apparently didn’t feel the need:
It’s not likely that the Rays and Red Sox — battling for victories in a wacky American League East — will engage in more drama Saturday night. But this isn’t the first time these two teams have expressed a dislike for each other. And Rapuano declined an opportunity to discourage the night’s pitchers from throwing inside.
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.