Hiroki Kuroda pitches

UPDATE: Dodgers close to re-signing Hiroki Kuroda

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UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com also hears that the Dodgers are close to keeping Kuroda for one year at $12 million.

12:27 AM: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker originally stated that 1 billon yen works out to $8 million, which looked like an awesome deal for the Dodgers. Turns out the exchange rate was incorrect.

It’s actually $12 million, which makes far more sense, given that Kuroda made $13 million this past season.

Don’t get all over Newman for this error, though. He’s truly one of the best around. If you must, direct your anger towards baseball writers like myself who are too lazy to double-check exchange rates.

10:46 PM: For what it’s worth, a Dodgers’ source told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that the Sanspo report is “inaccurate.” When asked if a deal was close, the source said “hard to tell.”

Another Hot Stove rumor squashed? Stay tuned.

8:56 PM: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a report from Sanspo that Hiroki Kuroda is close to staying with the Dodgers on a one-year contract for approximately $8 million. We went over Kuroda’s impressive stats from this past season a bit earlier, so if true, this would be a tremendous bargain for the Dodgers.

6:06 PM: Big, but not entirely surprising news on the free agent front. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times passes along a report from Japanese sports daily Sports Nippon that Hiroki Kuroda plans to pitch in the majors for another year.

Kuroda, who turns 36 in February, was reportedly considering a return to Japan after finishing his three-year, $35.3 million contract with the Dodgers, but it makes plenty of sense (and dollars) to stick around. The right-hander went 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA and 158 /48 K/BB ratio over 31 starts this past season, his most successful since arriving stateside in 2008. Our own Matthew Pouliot has him ranked as the No. 10 free agent this winter.

According to Hernandez, the Nippon report states that Kuroda would prefer to stay with the Dodgers, but it’s not known if they will be able to afford him. Remember, they already re-signed veteran left-hander Ted Lilly to a three-year, $33 million contract. I’m skeptical that Kuroda will actually pass up another multi-year contract at this point in his career, but if he truly intends to pitch in the United States for only one more season, it will add a pretty interesting dynamic to his list of potential suitors. If anything, it should only increase the number of teams in the mix.

NLDS, Game 1: Cubs vs. Cardinals lineups

Jon Lester
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Here are the Cubs and Cardinals lineups for Game 1 of the NLDS in St. Louis:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Starlin Castro
LF Chris Coghlan
SS Addison Russell
C David Ross
SP Jon Lester

Jon Lester’s personal catcher David Ross takes the place of Miguel Montero behind the plate. Kris Bryant shifts back to third base after playing left field in Game 1, with Chris Coghlan coming off the bench to get a start in the outfield against a right-hander. Addison Russell bats seventh, which he did just 10 times during the regular season.

3B Matt Carpenter
1B Stephen Piscotty
LF Matt Holliday
CF Jason Heyward
SS Jhonny Peralta
RF Randal Grichuk
C Yadier Molina
2B Kolten Wong
SP John Lackey

Mike Matheny’s lineup for Game 1 is an interesting one. Jason Heyward is batting cleanup and playing center field, where he started just eight games all season. Stephen Piscotty plays first base, where he started just nine games. Yadier Molina is behind the plate, toughing his way through a significant thumb injury that’s sidelined him since September 20 and leaves him at much less than 100 percent now. Brandon Moss, Mark Reynolds, and Jon Jay are all on the bench.

Steven Matz is on the Mets’ playoff roster, set for Game 4 start

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) works during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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Rookie left-hander Steven Matz hasn’t pitched since September 24 because of a back injury, but he’s on the Mets’ playoff roster for the NLDS and looks likely to start Game 4 against the Dodgers.

Matz prepped for a potential start by throwing 80 pitches in a simulated game Thursday and apparently experienced no issues. Even setting aside the health question mark Matz has started just six games in the majors, but he’s 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA and 34/10 K/BB ratio in 35.2 innings.

Matz is one of 11 pitchers on the NLDS roster, along with 14 position players. No big surprises.

ALDS, Game 2: Astros vs. Royals lineups

Johnny Cueto Royals
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Here are the Astros and Royals lineups for Game 2 of the ALDS in Kansas City:

2B Jose Altuve
RF George Springer
SS Carlos Correa
LF Colby Rasmus
DH Evan Gattis
3B Luis Valbuena
1B Chris Carter
C Jason Castro
CF Jake Marisnick

SP Scott Kazmir

Carlos Gomez remains out of the lineup with an intercostal injury, so Marisnick makes another start in center field after going 2-for-4 with standout defense in Game 1.

SS Alcides Escobar
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Kendrys Morales
3B Mike Moustakas
C Salvador Perez
LF Alex Gordon
RF Alex Rios

SP Johnny Cueto

Royals manager Ned Yost sticks with the same lineup as Game 1, which isn’t surprising given that he trotted out the same lineup for basically the entire postseason run last year. Cueto gets the ball after Yost chose Yordano Ventura for Game 1 duties.