Red Sox

Astros-Rangers series shifted from Houston to Florida because of flooding

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Astros-Rangers series shifted from Houston to Florida because of flooding

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros will play their series against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, this week, the biggest change yet forced by Hurricane Harvey and widespread flooding that spread more misery across Texas on Monday.

Both the Astros and Rangers flew to Dallas after games in California on Sunday to await news of where the series would be held. After an off day Monday, they will now head to St. Petersburg, where the Astros will have "home" games far away from home, just like they did in the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008 when they played two scheduled home games in Milwaukee. The three-game set begins Tuesday.

The team also said a three-game series against the New York Mets that begins on Friday may also be played at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. A person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press that the decision has already been made and shared with the players, though there was no word from the team or Major League Baseball. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move was not disclosed.

If the Astros play both series in Florida, they will end up playing 19 straight games away from Houston, where the AL Central leaders last played on Aug. 24. A 10-game road trip begins after the Mets series.

"The safety of our fans, players and staff remain our main priority," Astros President Reid Ryan said. "We are extremely grateful to the Tampa Bay Rays organization for allowing us to use their facility."

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team was open to hosting the series in Arlington this week, but had no interest in swapping a series against the Astros later in the season to accommodate the change. He said the Rangers declined partially because of thoughts for the fans, but also because that change would have left the Rangers with a 12-game road trip late in the season.

"Just the competitive challenge of having our guys' last road trip of the year, (a) four-city trip was not something that we wanted to do," he said. "We were prepared, we offered to host the series, but the decision was made to go to Tampa instead."

Dodgers send Adrian Gonzalez to Braves, re-acquire Kemp

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Dodgers send Adrian Gonzalez to Braves, re-acquire Kemp

LOS ANGELES - Matt Kemp is returning to the place where he began his major league career, reacquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves that sent former Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from L.A. to Atlanta.

The Dodgers sent Gonzalez, oft-injured starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, infielder Charlie Culberson and cash to Atlanta for the 33-year-old Kemp. Gonzalez then was designated for assignment by the Braves.

After sitting on the sidelines during the recent winter meetings, the Dodgers moved quickly to dump nearly $50 million in salary committed to Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy for 2018. Kemp is owed about $43 million over the next two seasons. Click here for more

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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