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Report: Trade interest in Justin Verlander picking up

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Tigers starter Justin Verlander has turned his season around over his last 10 starts. During that span of time, dating back to July 8, he has a 2.38 ERA with a 75/19 K/BB ratio in 68 innings. As a result, trade interest has picked up, Jon Morosi reports. The Astros were reportedly interested previously, but a different team has emerged as a potential landing spot.

Overall, Verlander owns a 3.90 ERA and a 167/66 K/BB ratio in 166 innings on the season. While the stats are decent, particularly recently, an acquiring team is most concerned about his age (34) and his contract. He’s owed $28 million in each of the next two seasons and has a $22 million vesting option for 2020.

A contending team would need to add Verlander by Thursday in order for the right-hander to become eligible for the postseason roster.

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.