Red Sox name Jason Varitek special assistant to the GM

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The Red Sox officially welcomed Jason Varitek back to the fold Thursday, and his title comes as no surprise. He’ll serve as a special assistant to the general manager, the team announced.

GM Ben Cherington said Varitek will be involved in “personnel decisions, evaluations, and mentorship and instruction of young players.”

Varitek retired this spring after 15 seasons with the Red Sox. A three-time All-Star and two-time World Series winner, he hit .256/.341/.435 with 193 homers and 757 RBI in 1,546 games. He likely has a future as a manager if he wants it, but this lesser role will allow him to be in baseball and still spend plenty of time with his family.

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.