The Professional Free Agent Showcase

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Here’s an idea I had never considered: a “three-day mixer” called the Professional Free Agent
Showcase where unemployed baseball players work out for and scouts for teams
looking for talent.  The inaugural one kicks off today and lasts through Thursday at Al Lang Field in
St. Petersburg, Fla.

It’s not for Major League free agents. According to the article it’s for “the six-year, fringe-type ballplayer.”  Minor league free agents mostly, though there are a couple of guys with some big league experience like Tim Raines, Jr. and Nick Beirbrodt. It’s set up by former ballplayer Rob Ducey and former ballplayers such as Cecil Fielder and Heathcliff Slocumb are helping to run it.  It costs each free agent $500 to attend, and basically works like one of those private, Ben Sheets-style private workouts, only for 20 dudes instead of one.

Kind of sounds like a meat market. Kind of sounds depressing. Then again, that describes all manner of things any of the rest of us who have ever been unemployed have had to go through, so it’s really hard to find fault.

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.