Cubs keeping “all options open” with Alfonso Soriano

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Now that Alfonso Soriano has “only” two more years remaining on his massive contract Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune asked Theo Epstein if that means he’s unlikely to be traded, but the Cubs president replied: “No, you have to leave all options open.”

Epstein was quick to note that Soriano now has the ability to veto any trade “so if he doesn’t want to go anywhere, he doesn’t have to.” However, he added that if a potential deal comes up the Cubs “will bring it to him” as a possibility for approval.

In other words, if Soriano has another decent season–he hit .262 with 32 homers and an .821 OPS last year–the Cubs will definitely be trying to cash him in for some value or at least clear some of his 2013-2014 money off the books.

Report: Red Sox, J.D. Martinez close to a deal

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.

Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.

The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field.

The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.