With trade rumors swirling, Kosuke Fukudome buys a $1.3 million condo in Chicago

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This could mean absolutely nothing or it could mean that he’s not paying much attention to the trade rumors swirling this week, but Kosuke Fukudome just bought a three-bedroom condo in Chicago for $1.32 million.

Dennis Rodkin of ChicagoMag.com reports that Fukudome and his wife had been renting a place since signing with the Cubs in 2007, so the decision to own is definitely curious right now.

Earlier this week Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune wrote that the Cubs may have to trade Fukudome and the $13.5 million remaining on his contract in order to pursue any of their top free-agent targets. Later his Tribune colleague Phil Rogers wrote that the Cubs were “kicking around” a trade that would send Fukudome to the Red Sox for Daisuke Matsuzaka, but that rumor was pretty thoroughly squashed before long.

Whatever the case, it seems obvious that the Cubs are interested in parting with Fukudome at the same time he’s apparently interested in settling down in Chicago. Of course, it’s also possible that spending $1.3 million doesn’t mean much of anything for a guy with a $48 million contract.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.