Jim Thome is on fire

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The Phillies have ruled out the possibility of Jim Thome playing first base this year. They may want to reconsider that. Or at least try to  figure out a way to get his bat into the lineup after interleague play is over and he can’t DH anymore, because the guy is on fire.

Thome hit a three-run homer last night against the Twins.  Over the last six games — all interleague games in AL parks — he’s hitting 11 for 24 with three home runs and 13 runs batted in.

I suppose he’d be attractive to an AL team with DH problems at this point, even if he wouldn’t bring much in return at his age. Kind of a shame that the man who, more than almost anyone else, was born to DH can’t DH every day in what may very well be the last year of his career.

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.