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J.D. Martinez doesn’t like his reputation as a bad defender


New Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez‘s wish will be granted: he will play some outfield throughout the season, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports. Manager Alex Cora said, “At home, he’ll play left field and if somehow he plays somewhere on the road here, he’ll play right field.”

Martinez will also spend some time at DH. He said, “That was part of the deal coming in, was knowing that I am going to play the outfield but I am going to DH at times too.” The former Astro, Tiger, and Diamondback inked a five-year, $110 million contract with the Red Sox last week.

Martinez thinks he’s a better defender than people give him credit for being, Michael Silverman reports. He doesn’t agree with the analytics that echo the thought and he is motivated to change his reputation. Baseball Reference’s defensive metric has Martinez at -35 runs below average over his seven-year career, though he was graded at one run above average last season. UZR, found at FanGraphs, puts him at -60.5 over his career and -13.1 last season.

Make no mistake, though: Martinez is in Boston for his bat, not his glove. Last year, he hit 45 home runs, knocked in 104 runs, and posted a 1.066 OPS in 489 plate appearances between the Tigers and Diamondbacks.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.