Ken Rosenthal has a report of management strife between Astros manager Bo Porter and GM Jeff Luhnow.
As is so often the case in any organization, it boils down to communication. Or lack thereof. Specifically, Porter’s anger at not being consulted by Luhnow in several instances, including a time when prospect Mark Appel was called to Houston to throw a bullpen session for the team’s pitching coach. Rosenthal reports that Luhnow has also been too critical of Porter’s in-game decisions. Porter has complained to team owner Jim Crane.
Which, OK, it’s a team that loses a lot of games and which — because of some irrationally exuberant reporting about its competitive prospects — has been under a lot of scrutiny of late. That leads to tension. Although I was rather surprised by Rosenthal’s wind up to this:
The question now is whether their relationship can be salvaged – and whether Crane will want to replace one or both.
Crane might resist any change, not wanting to admit that he made a mistake with either hiring. But it’s difficult to imagine the Astros starting the 2015 season with the same management team.
Rosenthal is not the type to overstate things for dramatic effect. One gets the sense that he’s actually hearing this from someone. That would be pretty nuts, but maybe things are pretty bad.
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.