Kosuke Fukudome

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.

Red Sox could go to arbitration hearing with Fernando Abad

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Fernando Abad #58 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.

Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.

While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.