A couple of easy decisions here for the Giants …
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the San Francisco front office has officially declined an $18 million club option on left-hander Barry Zito and a club option of unknown value on outfielder Andres Torres. The players are now free agents.
Zito, 35, posted a brutal 5.74 ERA (58 ERA+) across 133 1/3 innings during the 2013 regular season — the final chapter of that seven-year, $126 million free agent contract that he received in December 2006.
Torres, also 35, hit .250/.302/.342 with two home runs in 300 plate appearances this past summer.
Zito got a $7 million buyout from the Giants. It’s not clear whether Torres got anything.
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.