More good news here for the Red Sox, who clinched the American League East crown on Friday night.
According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, manager John Farrell told the media Sunday morning at Fenway Park that center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury “might be in the lineup Wednesday” at Colorado’s Coors Field after sitting out the past three weeks with a compression fracture in his right foot.
Ellsbury was cleared for baseball-related activities last week and has been setback-free to this point.
The 30-year-old impending free agent was batting .299/.355/.424 with 52 stolen bases and 89 runs scored in 131 games before the injury. He’s going to hit it big on the open market this winter.
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. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
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.