Red Sox sign right-hander John Ely to minor league contract

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According to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, the Red Sox announced yesterday that they have signed right-hander John Ely to a minor league contract. The deal also includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Ely missed the entire 2013 season while rehabbing from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery and was given his release by the Astros in November. The 27-year-old posted a 5.70 ERA and 92/51 K/BB ratio over 115 1/3 innings with the Dodgers from 2010-2012 and will likely serve as starting pitcher depth in Triple-A if healthy.

The Red Sox also announced that they have re-signed right-hander Miguel Celestino and infielder Brandon Snyder to minor league deals.

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.