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Athletics extend manager Bob Melvin

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The Athletics announced on Thursday that manager Bob Melvin agreed to a one-year contract extension that will keep him in Oakland through the 2019 season. Melvin signed a two-year extension with the Athletics in September 2015, so he was already under contract for next season.

The Athletics are a meager 73-85 this season and won fewer than 70 games in both 2015 and ’16. But the club has certainly shown improvement this year, particularly in September, winning 15 of 25 games for its first .500 or better month of the season.

Melvin, 55, has managed the Athletics since 2011 to a collective regular season record of 535-532. The team made the playoffs three years in a row from 2012-14 but is currently on a three-year playoff drought.

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.