Rumor: the Cubs considering a Fukudome for Dice-K trade

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This one from Phil Rogers is prefaced with the idea that the Cubs are merely “kicking it around,” do don’t get your hopes up, Fukudome-hating Cubs fans or Matsuzaka-hating Red Sox fans.  There’s no suggestion that the Red Sox have been contacted about it and, of course, both of these guys have no-trade clauses, so they’d have to be brought into the loop too.  I’d place the odds of such a deal going down somewhere between “Brandon Wood wins a batting title” and “Pablo Sandoval eats a vegetable.”

But it’s fun to consider. Total challenge trade, no? Both guys are capable of playing well for stretches, both are capable of really stinkin’ up the joint. Both are seen by the fan base as massive disappointments, especially in light of their salaries.  The Japanese angle is gravy of course. If you’ve ever seen the way the Japanese baseball press covers these guys you can just imagine the media frenzy such a trade would create.

Rogers says that the kicking-around of it all involves “a package of players.”  Who knows how it would all turn out — not that it will ever turn out — but if it did go down, who wins?  I suspect the Cubs by virtue of the fact that Matsuzaka would likely improve against NL Central opponents, but we can’t be sure.

I don’t care, though.  This is easily the most fun rumor we’ve had since the offseason began.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.