Randy Choate

Marlins sign Randy Choate to two-year, $2.5 million contract

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Florida’s bullpen makeover continues, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Marlins have signed left-handed specialist Randy Choate to a two-year, $2.5 million contract.

Choate is a Type B free agent and Tampa Bay smartly offered him arbitration, so the Rays will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds for losing a guy they acquired for nothing in 2009 and paid $700,000 in 2010.

None of which is to suggest that Choate isn’t plenty useful. A side-arming southpaw, he held left-handed hitters to a .202 batting average this year and a .217 mark for his career. However, he can’t be trusted versus right-handed hitters, as they’ve knocked him around to the tune of a .279 batting average and .800 OPS, which is how Choate led the AL with 85 appearances yet logged a total of just 45 innings.

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.