Miguel Cabrera homers twice to reach 40 for the first time

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Miguel Cabrera hit a pair of homers, including the Tigers’ first grand slam of the year, in Tuesday’s win over the A’s to get to 40 for the first time in his career.

Cabrera also collected his 38th double. He was removed after his slam off Jesse Chavez made it a 12-2 game in the bottom of the eighth.

The two-homer game is just what Cabrera needed to enter the final two weeks with a serious chance at the game’s first Triple Crown since 1967. He leads the AL with a .333 average, and he broke his tie with Josh Hamilton atop the RBI standings tonight. His 40 homers are tied with Edwin Encarnacion for second place, two behind Hamilton.

If Cabrera can win the Triple Crown, it’d probably lock up his first MVP award, even if the Tigers can’t make their way into the postseason. Advanced stats would still give Mike Trout a significant edge, but it’d be hard to sway the voters in the event of a single player leading the league in average, homers and RBI for the first time in 45 years.

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.