Giants ace Madison Bumgarner started the regular season in style, helping his own cause against the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke. Bumgarner swatted his 15th career home run, taking a 92 MPH fastball on a line out to left-center field in Arizona on Sunday afternoon.
Bumgarner has now homered off of Greinke twice in his career. The only other pitcher he’s victimized multiple times? Clayton Kershaw. The homer was hit 416 feet and 112.5 MPH off the bat, the hardest-hit home run by a pitcher in the Statcast era.
Bumgarner also brought a perfect game into the sixth inning, but lost it with one out in the frame when Jeff Mathis tripled — yes, Jeff Mathis tripled — to left field. (Yes, to left field.)
In the seventh, Bumgarner tacked on his second homer of the game and No. 16 of his career, completely destroying a 92 MPH Andrew Chafin fastball.
That one left the bat at 112.1 MPH. He’s the first pitcher in baseball history to homer twice on Opening Day. He’s the first player at any position to homer multiple times on Opening Day since Barry Bonds in 2002 (via ESPN Stats & Info).
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.