Ichiro Suzuki returns to leadoff spot in Mariners order

1 Comment

Eric Wedge’s offseason lineup switches just didn’t work out.

A month after pulling Chone Figgins out of the leadoff spot and the lineup altogether, Wedge has decided to go back to Ichiro Suzuki at the top of the order.

Suzuki hit third and started in right field in each of the Mariners’ first 52 games before taking a seat Wednesday. He also had Thursday’s off day to rest up.

Suzuki was a pretty obvious bust as a No. 3 hitter, even though this year’s .271/.305/.367 line is a slight improvement over where he finished last year. He drove in just 17 runs in the 52 games. The Mariners and the Phillies, with 15, are the only teams to get fewer than 20 RBI out of their No. 3 hitters to date.

The incredible thing is that the Mariners have managed a pretty respectable offense anyway. After Wednesday’s outburst, they’re averaging 4.11 runs per game, good for 18th in the majors. They were dead last in the majors at 3.17 runs per game in 2010 and 3.43 last year.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

Getty Images
7 Comments

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.