Rangers considering trade for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey

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The Royals have already been identified as one of the six or seven teams interested in executing a trade for the Mets’ R.A. Dickey. Now we can identify another.

From MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan comes word that the Rangers are also very interested in acquiring Dickey and plan to meet with the Mets at the annual Winter Meetings this week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dickey was drafted 18th overall by the Rangers back in 1996 and spent close to 10 years in their system before fizzling out and then reinventing himself as a knuckleballer. Now 38 years old, he posted a 2.73 ERA and 230/54 K/BB ratio across 233 2/3 innings in 2012 on the way to winning the NL Cy Young Award.

Dickey is under contract at a salary of $5 million in 2013. He will be a free agent after that.

The Mets are said to seeking a catcher and outfield help in a return package.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.