Things aren’t looking good for Cardinals closer Jason Motte

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When Cardinals closer Jason Motte went down late last month after a poor spring, the team termed his injury a “mild strain” in his right elbow. Following a followup MRI on Tuesday, things sound much more ominous:

With young gun Trevor Rosenthal and interim closer Mitchell Boggs in the fold and plenty of bullpen depth, the Cardinals are pretty well set up to handle Motte’s absence. Not to say that he won’t be missed. The 30-year-old Motte has posted ERAs under 3.00 three straight seasons, and he finished with 42 saves in 49 chances last year. Plus, the news comes right on the heels of Boggs giving up seven runs in what had been a tie game with the Reds on Monday.

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.