Rumor roundup: Victorino wants to keep right-field job
Red Sox have outfielders aplenty; Melky refutes turf issue; Fister could stay put
After signing Hanley Ramirez this week to become the team's left fielder, the Red Sox have an even greater surplus of outfielders, leaving many to wonder who will man right field come the start of next season.
Shane Victorino believes it should be him. He played right field for the club during its 2013 World Series championship run, but he saw time in only 30 games due to injury last season at age 33.
"If you think there's somebody better in right, be my guest," Victorino said to WEEI on Friday. "Obviously health will dictate that. But if I'm healthy, if there's a better outfielder in right field, then show me and go out there and do it. I'm not saying that in a cocky or arrogant way. It's just how confident I am to know I should be the starting right fielder."
With Ramirez in left and Rusney Castillo expected to be in center field, that leaves Mookie Betts, Yoenis Cespedes, Daniel Nava, Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt also fighting for a spot in right.
Melky denies issue of turf in Toronto
Free-agent outfielder Melky Cabrera shot down a report on Friday saying he'd prefer to not re-sign with the Blue Jays because of the artificial turf at Rogers Centre, Toronto's home ballpark.
An ESPN tweet Friday said the 30-year-old Cabrera's "preference" is to sign elsewhere this offseason so he doesn't have to play half his games on artificial turf. ESPN then clarified the initial tweet, saying Cabrera would only factor in the grass-vs.-turf preference if he received otherwise equal offers.
The Jays are reportedly interested in bringing back Cabrera, who hit .301/.351/.458 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs last season.
Fister to stay with Nats?
While plenty of teams have shown interest in Doug Fister, who is a free agent after next season, the Nationals are interested in signing him to a long-term extension.
According to the Washington Post, after the Nats and Fister couldn't come to terms on an extension last winter, little has been done and the two sides haven't spoken for months.
Including Fister, 10 players on Washington's roster could be free agents after '15. One of those is Jordan Zimmermann, whose contract the Nats have tried to extend in the past. As the Post pointed out, Zimmermann is two years younger than Fister, 30, and a more accomplished power pitcher, meaning Fister could be signed at a lower cost.
In his first season in the National League, Fister had a career year. Though he missed the first month of the season, Fister set career bests in wins (16) and ERA (2.41).