Cubs re-sign reliever John Grabow

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John Grabow has decided to pass on free agency and remain with the Cubs, signing a two-year deal worth a reported $7.5 million.
Acquired from the Pirates at midseason, Grabow had a 3.24 ERA in 25 innings out of the Cubs’ bullpen and has a nice-looking 3.09 ERA in 148 innings overall during the past two years.
However, with a 119/77 K/BB ratio and 14 homers allowed during that time his secondary numbers suggest that Grabow has been quite fortunate to post those marks.
His batting average on balls in play and the rate at which he strands runners on base were both unsustainably strong and figure to be worse going forward, making it likely that he’ll be a decent left-handed setup man rather than a lights-out option in the late innings.
Chicago certainly has enough payroll space that dropping $3.75 million per season on a non-elite reliever isn’t a big issue either way, but I’d bet against Grabow being worth $7.5 million over the next two years.

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.