Jose Ramirez kicked things off for the Indians in unusual fashion on Sunday, returning a 3-2 fastball from Tigers’ southpaw Chad Bell to give the club a one-run lead in the first inning. The ball traveled an estimated 361 feet, per Statcast’s calculations, but needed an extra push to clear the fence in left field. It bounced twice off the top of the wall before eventually tipping away from the field.
There to lend a helping hand? Tigers’ left fielder Mikie Mahtook, who reached for the ball twice before inadvertently pushing it over the wall — and causing a little frustration in Detroit’s bullpen, too.
Ramirez returned in the third inning with a leadoff double, his 45th of the season, and hustled home to score on a comebacker off of Carlos Santana‘s bat. The Indians currently lead the Tigers 4-1 in the top of the fourth.
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.