Red Sox

Red Sox bolster outfield depth by acquiring Rajai Davis from A's

Red Sox bolster outfield depth by acquiring Rajai Davis from A's

CLEVELAND — Rajai Davis, the veteran outfielder who hit a dramatic home run in Game 7 of the World Series last year, is joining the Red Sox. 

The Sox traded minor league outfielder Rafael Rincones to the A’s on Wednesday for Davis, who gives the Sox a depth option in place of Jackie Bradley Jr., and also a potential postseason pinch runner. Davis is to join the Red Sox on Thursday in Cleveland, where he played for the Indians last year. Deven Marrero was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room.

The 36-year-old Davis has five home runs and a .233 average this season with Oakland, plus 26 steals in 32 attempts. He’s hitting .303 since the All-Star Break and is primarily a center fielder.

Davis seems set to be the regular center fielder, although that wasn't definitive.

"Likely in center field," Sox manager John Farrell said after a 6-1 win over the Indians on Wednesday. "[Andrew Benintendi] become a very good left fielder, particularly off the wall where he’s had so much repetition there. Rajai has probably played more games in center field, but this is a guy with postseason experience, a speed element that will add to what’s here already. Familiarity with him in Toronto. He’s a very good fit at a really important time.”

Dombrowski said the move did not reflect a greater level of concern for Bradley’s sprained left thumb, but noted the MRI that Bradley went for Wednesday prompted him to expedite the trade. Dombrowski said he reached out to Oakland’s Billy Beane a week ago — well before Bradley was hurt.

Bradley suffered a sprain to a ligament in his left thumb, which is to be immobilized for about a week, Farrell said. Bradley was injured Tuesday night in a slide into home plate, banging his left hand awkwardly on a slide home. He’s on the 10-day disabled list, but given the period of immobilization, he’s expected to be on the DL longer than the minimum.

“The encouraging thing is through the X-ray and MRI imaging, there are no tears, no fractures,” Farrell said. “He is immobilized currently in a splint and that will probably be in the next coming days, 5-7 days, and hopefully at that point we’re able to get some range of motion and strengthening back in there. Unfortunate that he ends up in an awkward position to slide last night and rolled over on the thumb.”

Steve Selsky was designated for assignment Wednesday, clearing a 40-man roster spot for Davis.

Davis is a Connecticut native with a reputation for being a good clubhouse presence.

“We think the world of him,” Dombrowski said. “Fantastic guy. He's the type of person everyone thinks the world of when they meet him. We know he'll fit in with the ball club well, and can play on a pennant contender, which we hope to complete as we get through the stretch run here. He's been through it.”

Martinez tells Red Sox he would DH, but others want him as outfielder

Martinez tells Red Sox he would DH, but others want him as outfielder

Free agent slugger J.D. Martinez has told the Red Sox he would DH and play the outfield for them, a baseball source said Friday.  The flipside: teams are offering Martinez a full-time outfield job, and he enjoys playing the outfield.

Martinez, the best bat available via free agency, visited with teams at the winter meetings this week.

Michael Silverman of the Herald wrote Friday that Martinez has been telling teams he prefers to play the outfield, and suggested the Sox will have to pay a bit more to land Martinez.

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“Martinez remains open to being a DH so his preference to play defense regularly does not eliminate the Red Sox from signing Martinez,” Silverman wrote. “It does, however, put them in a position of having to make an aggressive offer that would distance themselves from competing offers where teams can present a corner outfield position. 

“Just what defines aggressive is something only Martinez and his agent Scott Boras will ultimately determine.”

The market could start to move a bit now, although that doesn’t mean anything is necessarily imminent. Another baseball source on Friday night noted that the market has started to thaw with Carlos Santana off the board. He agreed to a three-year, $60 million deal with the Phillies.

The Red Sox made an offer for Santana, but the offer made clear that Santana was not their primary choice. In other words, it wasn't close to what Santana ended up with.

A scenario in which Jackie Bradley Jr. is traded to make room for Martinez in the outfield seems reasonable, even if the Red Sox and Boras, who represents Bradley, have both downplayed that possibility.

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Scratch another Red Sox' target - Santana goes to Phillies

Scratch another Red Sox' target - Santana goes to Phillies

The Red Sox options for a power bat grew fewer and likely more expensive Friday when former Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana agreed to a three-year, $60 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com and MLB Network was first to report the Santana deal, which comes as somewhat as a surprise with the rebuilding Phillies making a free-agent splash.  

The Red Sox reportedly met with Santana earlier this offseason. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported that the Sox offered a three-year deal to Santana that wasn't in the range of the Phillies. 

He doesn't hit for a high average (.249 career), but his combination of power and walks gives him a career OPS of .810. Last season he hit .259 with 23 homers and 79 RBI and an .818 OPS, and over his career, he has averaged 25 home runs and 85 RBI over 162 games. 

That Santana was able to command a $20-million-a-year deal from the Phillies likely raises the price of the other power bats the Sox had reportedly targeted, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer.