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Dodgers to promote outfield prospect Alex Verdugo

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J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports that the Dodgers are calling up top position player prospect Alex Verdugo. Verdugo is the Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect behind pitcher Walker Buehler and No. 28 overall in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.

Verdugo, 21, was taken by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2014 draft. This season, with Triple-A Oklahoma City, he hit .314/.389/.436 with 37 extra-base hits, 62 RBI, and 67 runs scored in 495 plate appearances.

Rosters expand on Friday, but it’s still unclear how much playing time the Dodgers plan to give Verdugo. The club should clinch the NL West relatively soon, so he could get some regular starts in meaningless games, but the Dodgers will also want to make sure the regulars stay sharp for the postseason.

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.