Padres sign reliever Tony Sipp

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According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, the Padres are close to signing left-handed reliever Tony Sipp to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Sipp really struggled with the Diamondbacks in 2013 after coming over from the Indians in a three-team trade, posting a career-high 4.78 ERA over 56 appearances. While he struck out 42 batters in 37 2/3 innings, he averaged 5.3 BB/9 and left-handed batters produced a .270/.372/.486 batting line against him. The 30-year-old was designated for assignment by Arizona in September.

The Padres have already added left-handers Alex Torres and Patrick Schuster this offseason, but Sipp will attempt to win a bullpen job in the spring.

UPDATE: Andrew Rickli of Sports Reel Boston reports that the deal is done.

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.