Rafael Soriano gauging interest before making arbitration decision

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Rafael Soriano must decide by midnight whether to accept the Braves’ arbitration offer, so ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports that his agent will spend the day trying to figure out if any teams are willing to beat what would likely be a one-year deal in the neighborhood of $7 million.
When healthy Soriano is one of the most dominant relievers in baseball, posting a 2.97 ERA, 102/27 K/BB ratio, and .194 opponents’ batting average in 75.2 innings for the Braves this season. However, he has a history of arm problems and as a Type A free agent he’ll cost a first-round draft pick to sign, so that has significantly lessened the number of interested teams.
Atlanta has already signed Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to seemingly replace Soriano and fellow free agent Mike Gonzalez, so the Braves almost surely would rather have draft picks than re-sign Soriano.

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.