Carlos Beltran becomes first switch-hitter to join 300-300 club

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We already know that Carlos Beltran is awesome, but now he’s historically awesome.

Beltran is the first switch-hitter in major league history to amass 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases. He accomplished the feat by stealing second base in the second inning last night. Appropriately enough, it was against the Royals, the team which selected him in the second round of the 1995 draft.

Beltran is the eighth member of the 300-300 club, joining Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Andre Dawson, Steve Finley, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez and Reggie Sanders. But he’s the first switch-hitter in the group.

Mike Still of MLB.com reports that the second base bag was pulled off the Busch Stadium infield and awarded to Beltran in the clubhouse after the game. The 35-year-old outfielder is considering sending his spikes from last night’s game to Cooperstown.

Beltran is off to a fantastic start with the Cardinals this season, batting .301/.384/.603 with an NL-best 19 home runs. He has 321 lifetime home runs.

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.