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.

Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title

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The Marlins announced on Sunday that outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title when the city of Miami host’s the All-Star Game festivities next month.

Stanton, 27, defeated Todd Frazier in the finals of last year’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park, hitting 20 home runs to Frazier’s 13. Stanton hit a total of 61 home runs in the Derby. This will be the third Home Run Derby in which Stanton has participated.

Stanton also went 1-for-3 with a solo home run to help the Marlins defeat the Cubs 4-2 on Sunday. He’s now batting .274/.357/.551 with 20 home runs and 49 RBI in 311 plate appearances.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.