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Clint Hurdle, Pirates agree to a four-year extension

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates and manager Clint Hurdle have agreed to a four-year contract extension. He’ll remain with the Buccos through the 2021 season. His current contract was to end this year, though there was a 2018 team option.

Hurdle has been with the Pirates since 2011 and has gone 574-534. When he took over, the Pirates hadn’t had a winning season in 19 years. They won 94 games in his third season at the helm and 98 two seasons after that. They’ve won the Wild Card three times in their seven seasons, losing in the Division Series in 2013 and losing in the Wild Card game in 2014 and 2015. Hurdle won the Manager of the Year Award in 2013.

Here are Hurdle’s comments about the extension:

“I’m going to wait on the organization to get everything they need to get in place. I’ve made it clear from the beginning that a contract would work out when it was meant to work out. I love working here. I love working in this organization. I’m proud to be a Pirate, have been proud to be a Pirate. I want to do everything I can to get an opportunity to continue to move forward and bring a world championship to this city. The players in there, we’re in a good place. The staff in there, we’re in a good place. It would be humbling.”

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.