Dodgers close to acquiring Carlos Marmol from Cubs

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Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that the Dodgers “are closing in on a trade” for Carlos Marmol, who was designated for assignment by the Cubs last week.

Marmol is owed about $5 million for the rest of this season, so presumably the Cubs have agreed to eat a significant portion of that money to either save a little something or get a minor leaguer in return for the impending free agent.

Marmol was horrible for the Cubs this season and has always gone through extremely frustrating stretches because of his incredibly bad control, but from 2007-2012 he posted a 2.90 ERA with the majors’ highest strikeout rate and lowest opponents’ batting average.

As a highly paid closer Marmol was mostly a mess, but as a bargain-bin middle reliever he’d certainly be worth a flier. Even this year, while struggling overall, he has 32 strikeouts in 28 innings.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.