Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday that Josh Hamilton — who has been sidelined because of an early-spring calf strain — was on track to make his Cactus League debut this week. It won’t happen.
Scioscia was asked again about Hamilton’s status on Tuesday in camp and told Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register that the veteran outfielder won’t be appearing in a game “until Sunday, at the earliest.” Hamilton is not yet in danger of missing any regular season action, but he’s losing important spring at-bats and field work as he tries to bounce back from his highly disappointing 2013 campaign.
Hamilton signed a five-year, $125 million free agent contract with the Angels last winter and then went on to post a career-low .739 OPS with just 21 home runs and 79 RBI in 151 games. He is owed a $17 million salary this season, a $25 million salary next season, and then $32 million salaries in 2016 and 2017.
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.