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Matt Harvey could start for the Mets on Friday

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The New York Post reports that Matt Harvey is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the Mets’ rotation on Friday in the Mets game against the Astros.

Harvey, 28, has been out since mid-June due to a stress reaction in his right shoulder. He was struggling prior to the injury, posting a 5.25 ERA with a 54/35 K/BB ratio in 70.1 innings.

While some may wonder why the Mets are even bothering to pitch Harvey again given how little time is left in the Mets season, the answer is probably money. Harvey will be eligible for his third and final year of arbitration after this season. He’s being paid $5.125 million this year and, even with the lost 2017 season, his arbitration award would be at least that and possibly higher (it’s very rare for salaries to be cut in arbitration). The Mets are not the sort of team that parts with money easily, so they’re likely wanting to get as much information as possible before deciding whether or not to tender him a contract for 2018.

Harvey’s once incredible promise as a dominant ace is all but a memory at this point. The Mets now have a month to decide whether it’s possible for him to be a solid contributor going forward.

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.