Jackie Bradley Jr. officially cracks Red Sox roster

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From beat writer Tim Britton of the Providence Journal comes word that the Red Sox have purchased the contract of outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. from Double-A Portland. Mauro Gomez was designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Bradley will start in left field for the Red Sox on Opening Day and could stay up all year if he plays well enough. The 22-year-old batted .419/.507/.613 with four doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI in 28 games this spring in the Grapefruit League.

Bradley hit .315/.430/.482 with 42 doubles, nine homers, 24 stolen bases and 63 RBI in 128 games last summer between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. He ranked 31st on Baseball America‘s list of the Top 100 prospects this winter.

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.