Last night we learned that the Orioles were awarded the claim on Twins left fielder Josh Willingham, giving them until Friday to work out a potential deal, and now they’ve claimed another right-handed bat.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Orioles were awarded the claim on Mariners left fielder Michael Morse, who’s similar to Willingham in that he’s terrible defensively and has good power. One key difference is that Morse is an impending free agent, whereas Willingham is signed for $7 million next season. And generally speaking Morse hasn’t been as good as Willingham, although they’ve both struggled with production and injuries this year.
Obviously the Orioles would like to add another bat for the stretch run and it’s a smart approach to claim multiple, similar hitters to give themselves some options if the demands for one prove too costly. Seattle could always pull back Morse and keep him, like they did with Kendrys Morales, although getting anything they can in return for him would seemingly be the easy call.
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.