Tampa Bay called up Hideki Matsui last month despite his hitting just .170 in 13 games at Triple-A, which seemed odd at the time and was clearly an example of the Rays simply hoping that the 38-year-old veteran could summon whatever gas he had left in the tank once he was back in the big leagues.
That looked like a good move right away, as Matsui homered in two of his first three games, but since then he’s 7-for-48 (.146) with zero homers and a .393 OPS in 14 games. Matsui is hitting .158 with a .507 OPS overall, which along with his poor showing at Triple-A and career-worst .696 OPS for the A’s last season suggests that he’s just about finished.
It was a helluva run, but Matsui’s roster spot may be in jeopardy once Luke Scott returns from the disabled list next week and it’s hard to see him finding another big-league gig.
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.