The Cubs would eat $26 million of the $36 million owed Alfonso Soriano

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The Cubs ate a lot of Carlos Zambrano’s contract when he went to the Marlins just to be rid of him and they are willing to do the same thing with Alfonso Soriano, reports Jon Heyman: specifically, $26 million of the $36 million Soriano is owed over the next two seasons.

The catch: you gotta give the Cubs an actual prospect.

Which might be tempting for a lot of teams, depending on how good the prospect is.  Soriano hit .262/.322/.499 with 32 home runs and 108 RBI in 151 games this past season for Chicago. And while he’s not likely to repeat those numbers again in 2013, some power and durability in left field or at DH for $5 million a year is quite a bargain these days.

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.